What is Chronic Lymphocytic Leukaemia (CLL)?

Chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (CLL) is a type of leukaemia in which certain white blood cells are overproduced. It usually progresses more slowly than acute leukaemias, but in some people, the disease can become aggressive.

CLL is found almost exclusively in adults. It is rare in people under the age of 40 and extremely rare in children. Most people develop the disease after the age of 60 and often have no symptoms. Many do not need immediate treatment and can live for years before treatment is needed. 

In Europe and North America, CLL is the most common form of leukaemia, accounting for 25-40% of all leukaemia cases. In Asia, CLL accounts for only 5% of leukaemias, and in China, it is about 1.26-3.5%.


Symptoms of Chronic Lymphocytic Leukaemia (CLL)

In the early stages of the disease, there may be no noticeable symptoms, and many cases are diagnosed through routine blood tests. The following are the most common symptoms of chronic lymphocytic leukaemia. However, each person's symptoms may be different.

Symptoms may include

·Persistent weakness or tiredness

·Swollen lymph nodes

·Enlarged spleen, which may cause loss of appetite

·Enlarged liver


·Night sweats

·Weight loss

·Frequent infections

·Easy bruising or bleeding

The symptoms of chronic lymphocytic leukaemia may look like other blood disorders or medical problems. Always check with your doctor for a diagnosis.

Risk Factors

Risk Factors for Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia (CLL)

Risk factors for CLL include

- Being middle-aged or older, male or white

- Having a family history of CLL or lymphoid cancer

- Having relatives who are Russian Jews or Eastern European Jews


Chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (CLL) staging

Chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (CLL) is the only type of leukaemia with clearly defined stages.

·The Rai staging system


How is chronic lymphocytic leukaemia diagnosed?

Tests that examine the blood, bone marrow, and lymph nodes are used to detect (find) and diagnose chronic lymphocytic leukaemia.

Procedures and tests used to diagnose CLL

·Physical exam and medical history

·Complete blood count (CBC)

·Cytogenetic analysis


·Bone marrow aspiration and biopsy

Additional blood tests and other assessments may be performed.


Treatment for Chronic Lymphoid Leukaemia

The specific treatment for Chronic Lymphoid leukaemia will be determined by your doctor based on

·Your age, general health and medical history

·The stage of CLL

·The extent of the disease

·Your ability to tolerate certain medications, procedures, or therapies

·Your expectations for the course of the disease

·Your opinions or preferences

You may have one type of treatment or a combination of treatments. Different types of treatment have different aims. Here are some of the types of treatment and their goals for adults with CLL.

·What treatment may include


Use of anti-cancer drugs to shrink or kill cancer cells and reduce the spread of cancer to other parts of the body.


The use of high-energy radiation to kill or shrink cancer cells, tumours and non-cancerous diseases.

·Blood and bone marrow transplantation

A specialised therapy to transfer healthy bone marrow cells into a patient after their own unhealthy bone marrow has been removed.

(The above content is extracted from