Chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) is the
Small lymphocytic lymphoma (SLL) is another name for the same disease. “CLL” is used when most cancer cells are found in your blood and bone marrow. “SLL” is used when most cancer cells are in your lymph nodes.
In the United States, about
Keep reading to learn more about how CLL and SLL compare and how they’re treated.
CLL and SLL are slow-growing cancers that develop in white blood cells called lymphocytes. More specifically, they develop in abnormal
CLL and SLL are essentially the same diseases. Doctors choose a name based on where most cancer cells are found. Both conditions are
SLL is commonly used when most cancer cells appear in lymph nodes, and CLL when found in the blood or bone marrow. Bone marrow is the spongy tissue where blood cells are produced inside your bones.
A doctor will typically diagnose either CLL or SLL but not both. Here’s a look at how they compare:
|Where most cancer cells are found||Lymph nodes|
|Monoclonal lymphocyte cell count in blood||More than
||Less than 5,000/mm3|
SLL is classified as a type of
What causes CLL/SLL?
Researchers don’t exactly know why some people develop CLL or SLL. It’s thought that
Many different genetic mutations in the DNA of blood-producing cells have been identified in people with CLL or SLL. A loss of part of chromosome 13 is the most common genetic mutation that’s been identified.
CLL and SLL are slow-growing cancers that lead to the overproduction of abnormal B lymphocytes. The development of CLL and SLL are the same, and cancer cells are indistinguishable under a microscope.
Usually, CLL represents the initial phase where cells are isolated to the blood and bone marrow. CLL
About Richter’s syndrome
CLL and SLL can also develop into an aggressive form of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma called Richter’s syndrome. Richter’s syndrome develops in 3 to 15 percent of people with CLL or SLL.
The outlook for Richter’s syndrome is generally poor. Usual symptoms of Richter’s syndrome include:
- increased lymph node swelling
- increased swelling in the spleen or liver
- high fever
- abdominal pain
- even more weight loss
- poorer blood cell counts
Your medical team can help you determine the best treatment for CLL or SLL. The best treatment for you depends on
- your blood cell counts
- whether you have swelling in your liver, spleen, or lymph nodes
- your age and overall health
- your symptoms
- how you respond to initial treatment
- whether cancer returns after treatment
Treatments options for CLL and SLL include:
- watchful waiting
- radiation therapy
- targeted therapy
- stem cell transplant
- clinical trials
CLL and SLL aren’t usually considered curable, but many people live with these conditions for a long time. The distinction between CLL and SLL doesn’t influence the outlook of the disease.
Half of the people with CLL or SLL live at least
The relative 5-year relative survival rate is estimated at
Your doctor can give you the best idea about what to expect. Statistics can give you an idea about your outlook, but many factors can determine how you’ll respond to treatment.
Factors that influence outlook
Factors that can influence your outlook include:
CLL and SLL refer to the same type of blood cancer that develops in a type of white blood cell called lymphocytes. CLL is generally used when most cancer cells are in your blood or bone marrow. SLL is used when most cancer cells are found in lymph nodes.
CLL and SLL are treated the same way. The distinction doesn’t influence your treatment plan. Your medical team can help you determine how to best manage your condition.