Int J Med Sci 2020; 17(3):325-331. doi:10.7150/ijms.39307 This issue

Research Paper

Difference of genomic copy numbers alterations between hairy cell leukemia-variant and classical hairy cell leukemia: a pilot retrospective study in Chinese

Rui Zhang1, Yongli Wu1, Xianfu Wang2, Xianglan Lu2, Yan Li1, Shibo Li2✉, Xiaojing Yan1✉

1. Department of Hematology, The First Affiliated Hospital of China Medical University, Shenyang, Liaoning, 110001, P.R. China.
2. Department of Pediatrics, University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, Oklahoma City, OK 73104, USA.

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Zhang R, Wu Y, Wang X, Lu X, Li Y, Li S, Yan X. Difference of genomic copy numbers alterations between hairy cell leukemia-variant and classical hairy cell leukemia: a pilot retrospective study in Chinese. Int J Med Sci 2020; 17(3):325-331. doi:10.7150/ijms.39307. Available from

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Background: Hairy cell leukemia (HCL) is a rare chronic B-cell lymphoproliferative disorder. It has two pathological subtypes: classical HCL (HCL-C) and HCL-variant (HCL-V). HCL-C and HCL-V are distinct in morphology and immunophenotype. Their differentiation is important for patient management and clinical outcome, with HCL-V responding poorly to conventional HCL treatments. Recently, whole genomic sequencing has been used to identify the difference between HCL-C and HCL-V and mutation of BRAFV600E has been proved to be a molecular hallmark of HCL-C. However, BRAF inhibitors were not effective in all HCL-C cases and HCL-V seems be lack of the high-frequency mutations. Therefore, it is necessary to compare the genomic changes between HCL-C and HCL-V by high-resolution studies, especially in Chinese population, the genomic alterations of HCL have rarely be reported.

Methods: In this study, the clinical features of a total of 18 Chinese HCL patients were described. Single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) array analysis was performed to evaluate the genomic copy number alterations (CNA) and copy neutral loss of heterozygosity (CN-LOH) on six HCL-Vs with CD25-/BRAFV600E- and four HCL-Cs with CD25+/BRAFV600E+.

Results: A total of 24 CNAs including seven chromosomal gains and 17 chromosomal losses, and 22 CN-LOHs were revealed. Five of the six cases of HCL-V showed 15 CNAs including four cryptic chromosomal gains and 11 chromosomal losses. Overlapping regions involving micro-deletion of chromosome 2q13 and large chromosomal loss of 14q were showed in HCL-V. In HCL-C, a total of nine CNAs were revealed in three of the four cases including three chromosomal gains and six chromosomal losses. No overlapping area was observed among the CNVs. 15 CN-LOHs were showed in five of the six cases of HCL-V and seven CN-LOHs was demonstrated in all of the four HCL-Cs.

Conclusions: Comparing to Westerners, a relatively higher proportion of HCL-V in all HCL is observed in this study. CNAs and CN-LOHs were common in both HCL-V and HCL-C but the CNAs were different in them. HCL-C was characterized with the higher ratio of large chromosomal changes but lacked of recurrent CNAs, while HCL-V was presented with the higher incidence of cryptic CNAs and recurrent CNAs involving tumor-associated genes. It is necessary to further investigate the association of the genes, such as NPHP1 and TRAF3 genes, and HCL-V in the future study.

Keywords: genomic copy numbers, hairy cell leukemia-variant, classical hairy cell leukemia