BMJ Case Reports 2017; doi:10.1136/bcr-2016-218663

Oral hairy leukoplakia arising in a patient with hairy cell leukaemia: the first reported case

Editor's Choice
  1. Konrad Staines1
  1. 1 Oral Medicine, University of Bristol Dental Hospital, Bristol, UK
  2. 2 Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology, University of Bristol Dental Hospital, Bristol, UK
  1. Correspondence to Gemma Davis, gld645{at}
  • Accepted 23 March 2017
  • Published 6 April 2017


Oral hairy leukoplakia (OHL) is an oral mucosal lesion that is associated with Epstein-Barr virus infection. It commonly presents as an asymptomatic, non-removable white patch on the lateral borders of the tongue in individuals who are immunocompromised. Historically, OHL was thought to be pathognomonic of HIV infection; however, it is now an established phenomenon in a range of conditions affecting immune competence. Hairy cell leukaemia (HCL) is a rare chronic B cell lymphoproliferative disease named after the distinctive cytology of the atypical cells. We report the first case of OHL arising in an individual with HCL that resolved following remission of the haematological malignancy.


  • Contributors GD: literature search, drafted the manuscript and final approval of completed article. AP: contributed to the manuscript. PL: contributed histopathological information and involved in manuscript editing. KS: Evaluation and editing of manuscript to be published.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent Obtained.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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