Hairy cells stain for acid phophatase even in the presence of tartrate, which inhibits the acid phosphatase in other cells, such as lymphocytes. This slide shows two hairy cells heavily stained for tartrate-resistant acid phosphatase. We have found this stain valuable whenever hairy cells are observed on Wright's stained peripheral blood films. However, some recent reports have suggested that this type of acid phosphatase may occur in other types of cells, and therefore a positive tartrate-resistant acid phosphatase stain cannot be considered pathognomonic of hairy cell leukemia.
Course Section: 07. Lymphocytic Leukemia: Acute and Chronic
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