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Diseases

Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center (GARD)

Chronic lymphocytic leukemia


Other Names for this Disease
  • CLL
  • Leukemia, lymphocytic, chronic
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Overview

Chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) is a cancer of the lymphocytes (a type of white blood cell) that begins in the stem cells of the bone marrow and then invades the blood. Overtime, CLL may also spread to the lymph nodes and other organs including the liver, spleen and lungs.[1] It occurs when the stem cells that make lymphocytes become out of control and produce increasing amounts of abnormal lymphocytes (also called leukemic cells). Eventually, these abnormal cells replace normal lymphocytes and can crowd out other types of normal blood cells, leading to the features of the condition.[1] Early signs and symptoms of CLL may include fatigue, weight loss, loss of appetite, fever, night sweats and/or frequent infections.[2][3] The exact underlying cause of CLL is unknown; however, approximately 5% of affected people have other family members with the condition, which suggests there may be a genetic component in rare cases. The best treatment depends on many factors including the stage of the condition, the age of the affected person, the blood cell counts, whether the CLL has recurred, and the signs and symptoms present in each person.[4][1]
Last updated: 12/27/2014

References

  1. Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia Treatment (PDQ®). National Cancer Institute. November 2014; http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/pdq/treatment/CLL/Patient/page1.
  2. Chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL). MedlinePlus. March 2014; http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/000532.htm.
  3. Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia. NORD. October 2011; http://rarediseases.org/rare-disease-information/rare-diseases/byID/858/viewAbstract.
  4. Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia. Medscape Reference. September 2014; http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/199313-overview.
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Basic Information

  • The American Cancer Society provides information on Chronic lymphocytic leukemia. Please click on the link to access this resource.
  • MedlinePlus was designed by the National Library of Medicine to help you research your health questions, and it provides more information about this topic.
  • The Merck Manual provides information on this condition for patients and caregivers. 
  • The National Cancer Institute provides the most current information on cancer for patients, health professionals, and the general public.
  • The National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD) is a federation of more than 130 nonprofit voluntary health organizations serving people with rare disorders. Click on the link to view information on this topic.
  • The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society has an information page on Chronic lymphocytic leukemia. Click on the link to view this information page.

In Depth Information

  • Medscape Reference provides information on this topic. You may need to register to view the medical textbook, but registration is free.
  • The Merck Manual for health care professionals provides information on Chronic lymphocytic leukemia.
  • Online Mendelian Inheritance in Man (OMIM) is a catalog of human genes and genetic disorders. Each entry has a summary of related medical articles. It is meant for health care professionals and researchers. OMIM is maintained by Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. 
  • PubMed is a searchable database of medical literature and lists journal articles that discuss Chronic lymphocytic leukemia. Click on the link to view a sample search on this topic.
Other Names for this Disease
  • CLL
  • Leukemia, lymphocytic, chronic
See Disclaimer regarding information on this site. Some links on this page may take you to organizations outside of the National Institutes of Health.