Chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) is the most common chronic leukemia in adults. About 15,340 people in the United States will develop CLL this year. The average age at diagnosis is 72, and the disease is twice as common in men as women.
Doctors perform a variety of different tests to diagnose CLL. These diagnostic tests allow them to analyze the specific features of the leukemia cells and look for any genetic abnormalities, such as chromosomal rearrangements — which are common in CLL.
The treatment recommended for an individual patient with CLL will vary, and many patients with asymptomatic CLL require only observation. Most patients will derive the most benefit from current standard treatment approaches, which are designed to alleviate symptoms by inducing disease remission or slowing disease progression. These standard treatments generally include a combination of chemotherapy and immunotherapy, as well as novel targeted therapies for relapsed or refractory disease.
To date, no treatment approach other than bone marrow (stem cell) transplantation is considered a cure for CLL. However, this intensive approach is not necessary in most cases and only recommended for those patients with the highest risk types of CLL.
Learn more about treatment for CLL.