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    Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia

    Important
    It is possible that the main title of the report Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia is not the name you expected. Please check the synonyms listing to find the alternate name(s) and disorder subdivision(s) covered by this report.

    Synonyms

    Disorder Subdivisions

    • Ig-mutated CLL
    • Ig-unmutated CLL

    General Discussion

    Chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) is a malignant blood disorder in which there are an increased number of white blood cells in the lymphoid tissue. In CLL, the abnormal lymphocytes, also called leukemic cells, are produced instead of healthy white blood cells, and then accumulate over time. As the number of unhealthy blood cells grows, there is less room for healthy cells. The combination of fewer healthy cells, and the fact that the CLL lymphocytes are poor at fighting infections can lead to frequent infection, anemia, and easy bleeding. This disease progresses slowly, and the uncontrolled buildup and enlargement of lymphoid tissue can occur in various sites of the body such as the lymph nodes, spleen, bone marrow, and lungs. CLL is the most common type of leukemia in adults and very rarely occurs in children.

    In the majority of cases, chronic lymphocytic leukemia is the result of a rapid production of B lymphocyte cells (a short-lived type of white blood cell that is responsible for the production of vertebrate serum proteins that include antibodies). What was previously called CLL derived from T lymphocytes has been renamed as another disorder, T cell prolymphocytic leukemia. The overgrowth of cells in this T-cell disease tends to be much faster.

    The ability to distinguish between cells that have unmutated IgVH (Ig-unmutated CLL) and mutated IgVH (Ig-mutated CLL) has become very important in predicting the course of the disease (prognosis). Patients who have Ig-unmutated CLL have a much shorter average survival period of about 7 years compared to Ig-mutated CLL patients, whose average survival period is about 25 years. These survival times however are based on older data and likely longer now, with improved therapies. A protein called ZAP-70 is correlated with the IGVH status about 75% of the time but also provides independent prognostic information. Determining the subset of CLL based on IGVH status is important because it predicts prognosis. Because CLL usually progresses so slowly, many patients do not need immediate treatment and some do not even require it in their lifetime. Treatment is still based primarily on symptoms or worsening blood counts, not on these prognostic factors.

    Resources

    Leukemia & Lymphoma Society
    1311 Mamaroneck Avenue
    Suite 310
    White Plains, NY 10605
    Tel: (914)949-5213
    Fax: (914)949-6691
    Tel: (800)955-4572
    Email: infocenter@LLS.org
    Internet: http://www.LLS.org

    American Cancer Society, Inc.
    250 Williams NW St
    Ste 6000
    Atlanta, GA 30303
    USA
    Tel: (404)320-3333
    Tel: (800)227-2345
    TDD: (866)228-4327
    Internet: http://www.cancer.org

    National Cancer Institute
    6116 Executive Blvd Suite 300
    Bethesda, MD 20892-8322
    USA
    Tel: (301)435-3848
    Tel: (800)422-6237
    TDD: (800)332-8615
    Email: cancergovstaff@mail.nih.gov
    Internet: http://www.cancer.gov

    OncoLink: The University of Pennsylvania Cancer Center Resource
    3400 Spruce Street
    2 Donner
    Philadelphia, PA 19104-4283
    USA
    Tel: (215)349-8895
    Fax: (215)349-5445
    Email: hampshire@uphs.upenn.edu
    Internet: http://www.oncolink.upenn.edu

    Children's Leukemia Research Association
    585 Stewart Avenue, Suite 18
    Garden City, NY 11530
    Tel: (516)222-1944
    Fax: (516)222-0457
    Email: info@childrensleukemia.org
    Internet: http://www.childrensleukemia.org

    Lymphoma Research Foundation
    115 Broadway
    Suite 1301
    New York, NY 10006
    USA
    Tel: (212)349-2910
    Fax: (212)349-2886
    Tel: (800)235-6848
    Email: LRF@lymphoma.org
    Internet: http://www.lymphoma.org

    Cancer Research UK
    Angel Building
    407 St John Street
    London, EC1V 4AD
    United Kingdom
    Tel: 020 7242 0200
    Fax: 02071216700
    Email: cancerhelpuk@cancer.org.uk
    Internet: http://www.cancerresearchuk.org/cancer-help/

    Rare Cancer Alliance
    1649 North Pacana Way
    Green Valley, AZ 85614
    USA
    Internet: http://www.rare-cancer.org

    Genetic and Rare Diseases (GARD) Information Center
    PO Box 8126
    Gaithersburg, MD 20898-8126
    Tel: (301)251-4925
    Fax: (301)251-4911
    Tel: (888)205-2311
    TDD: (888)205-3223
    Internet: http://rarediseases.info.nih.gov/GARD/

    Madisons Foundation
    PO Box 241956
    Los Angeles, CA 90024
    Tel: (310)264-0826
    Fax: (310)264-4766
    Email: getinfo@madisonsfoundation.org
    Internet: http://www.madisonsfoundation.org

    Friends of Cancer Research
    1800 M Street NW
    Suite 1050 South
    Washington, DC 22202
    Tel: (202)944-6700
    Email: info@focr.org
    Internet: http://www.focr.org

    Cancer.Net
    American Society of Clinical Oncology
    2318 Mill Road Suite 800
    Alexandria, VA 22314
    Tel: (571)483-1780
    Fax: (571)366-9537
    Tel: (888)651-3038
    Email: contactus@cancer.net
    Internet: http://www.cancer.net/

    Cancer Support Community
    1050 17th St NW Suite 500
    Washington, DC 20036
    Tel: (202)659-9709
    Fax: (202)974-7999
    Tel: (888)793-9355
    Internet: http://www.cancersupportcommunity.org/

    Lance Armstrong Foundation
    2201 E. Sixth Street
    Austin, TX 78702
    Tel: (512)236-8820
    Fax: (512)236-8482
    Tel: (877)236-8820
    Email: media@livestrong.org
    Internet: http://www.livestrong.org

    For a Complete Report:

    This is an abstract of a report from the National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD). A copy of the complete report can be downloaded free from the NORD website for registered users. The complete report contains additional information including symptoms, causes, affected population, related disorders, standard and investigational therapies (if available), and references from medical literature. For a full-text version of this topic, go to www.rarediseases.org and click on Rare Disease Database under "Rare Disease Information".

    The information provided in this report is not intended for diagnostic purposes. It is provided for informational purposes only. NORD recommends that affected individuals seek the advice or counsel of their own personal physicians.

    It is possible that the title of this topic is not the name you selected. Please check the Synonyms listing to find the alternate name(s) and Disorder Subdivision(s) covered by this report

    This disease entry is based upon medical information available through the date at the end of the topic. Since NORD's resources are limited, it is not possible to keep every entry in the Rare Disease Database completely current and accurate. Please check with the agencies listed in the Resources section for the most current information about this disorder.

    For additional information and assistance about rare disorders, please contact the National Organization for Rare Disorders at P.O. Box 1968, Danbury, CT 06813-1968; phone (203) 744-0100; web site www.rarediseases.org or email orphan@rarediseases.org

    Last Updated: 10/27/2011
    Copyright 1991, 1992, 1996, 1997, 1998, 2002, 2004, 2011 National Organization for Rare Disorders, Inc.

    WebMD Medical Reference from the National Organization for Rare Disorders

    Last Updated: May 28, 2015
    This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.

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