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The demonstration of tartrate-resistant acid phosphatase (TRAP) activity has long been a cornerstone in the diagnosis of hairy cell leukemia (HCL). Recently a monoclonal antibody to this enzyme has been developed that can be used in an immunoperoxidase method on paraffin-embedded tissues. By using a peroxidase-labeled streptavidin biotin method, paraffin sections of B5 and formalin-fixed tissue from 86 cases of HCL (41 bone marrow, 36 spleen, 9 liver) were stained with the antibody to TRAP and compared against staining for CD20 (L26) and DBA.44 (DAKO, Carpinteria, Calif). In addition, 193 specimens (127 bone marrow, 42 lymph node, 19 spleen, 5 other) from a variety of neoplastic and nonneoplastic hematologic conditions were stained using the monoclonal antibody to TRAP. For comparison, these cases were also stained with DBA.44. In the cases of HCL, 80 of 86 specimens were immunoreactive for TRAP. While the antibody to TRAP generally stained less than 50% of the hairy cells CD20 and DBA.44 stained 90% and 50% to 60% of hairy cells, respectively. Two of three cases of marginal zone lymphoma showed weak immunoreactivity to the TRAP antibody. Two specimens from a patient with Gaucher’s disease and 8 of 13 cases of mastocytosis also showed positivity to the TRAP antibody in the macrophages and mast cells, respectively. In contrast, staining for DBA.44 was positive in 3 of 9 cases of B-cell large cell lymphoma, 1 of 4 cases of mantle cell lymphoma, and in the paraimmunoblasts of 1 of 7 cases of small lymphocytic lymphoma. Only HCL was TRAP and DBA.44 positive. This antibody to TRAP is a useful addition to the diagnosis of HCL but should be used in conjunction with CD20 and DBA.44. The use of this antibody to determine minimal residual disease after chemotherapy was not addressed.