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Chronic lymphocytic leukemia

German: Chronische lymphatische Leukämie

1 Definition

Chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) is a leukemic-occuring, low-grade B-non-Hodgkin lymphoma, with a proliferation of immunoincompetent B-cells. It is the most frequent type of leukemia in the western world and mainly affects elderly persons (more than 65% of all patients are 60 years and older). The exact cause of CLL is uncertain.

2 Symptoms

Note: Since CLL symptoms are rare, and, when present, largely unspecific (e.g. recurrent infections, fever, flu-like symptoms), the disease remains often undetected.

3 Staging and Prognosis

In 1975, Rai, Sawitsky and colleagues have introduced a CLL staging system :

Stage 0 lymphocytosis in the blood and marrow only (survival > 120 months)
Stage I lymphocytosis and adenopathy (survival ~ 95 months)
Stage II lymphocytosis, splenomegaly and/or hepatomegaly (survival ~ 72 months)
Stage III lymphocytosis, anemia (hb < 10) (survival ~ 30 months)
Stage IV lymphocytosis, thrombocytopenia (plt < 100,000) (survival < 30 months)

4 Literature

  • Rai KR, Sawitsky A, Cronkite EP: Clinical staging of chronic lymphocytic leukemia. Blood 1975 Aug; 46(2): 219-34

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