How is chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) staged?

Updated: Jul 02, 2019
  • Author: Sandy D Kotiah, MD; Chief Editor: Koyamangalath Krishnan, MD, FRCP, FACP  more...
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Answer

Answer

General considerations in the staging of chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) and the revised Rai (United States) and Binet (Europe) staging systems for CLL are provided below. [1, 2, 3]

See Chronic Leukemias: 4 Cancers to Differentiate, a Critical Images slideshow, to help detect chronic leukemias and determine the specific type present.

General considerations

See the list below:

  • CLL and small lymphocytic lymphoma (SLL) are different manifestations of the same disease; SLL is diagnosed when the disease is mainly nodal, and CLL is diagnosed when the disease is seen in the blood and bone marrow

  • CLL is diagnosed by > 5000 monoclonal lymphocytes/mm3 for longer than 3mo; the bone marrow usually has more than 30% monoclonal lymphocytes and is either normocellular or hypercellular

  • Monoclonal B lymphocytosis is a precursor form of CLL that is defined by a monoclonal B cell lymphocytosis < 5000 monoclonal lymphocytes/mm3; all lymph nodes smaller than 1.5 cm; no anemia; and no thrombocytopenia


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