Hairy cell leukemia (HCL) is frequently associated with severe pancytopenia. The authors detected high levels of tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-alpha in the bone marrow serum of patients with HCL and found anti-TNF-alpha neutralizing monoclonal antibodies (MoAbs) to be able to enhance hematopoiesis of HCL patients in in vitro colony assays. As potent producers of TNF-alpha, hairy cells could be identified, thus implicating the malignant population in the pathogenesis of hematopoietic failure due to inappropriate secretion of this cytokine.

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