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Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia: Learning Objectives

Medical Importance

Chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) is the most common form of leukemia. Patients can live many years with CLL, and may be followed by internists or family physicians. Thus it is key to know complications that may occur in patients with CLL.


  1. Describe the presenting features of CLL, including the typical age at presentation, the most common symptoms, two major physical exam findings and typical blood counts.

  2. Describe the predominant leukemic cell in the blood of patients with CLL, and distinguish this from the leukemic cells that can be seen in the blood of patients with ALL, AML, and CML.

  3. Describe the staging of CLL, and features that correlate with a better or worse prognosis.

  4. Describe complications of CLL that exemplify the immune dysfunction associated with this disease.

  5. Name at least four symptoms and/or complications of CLL that are an indication for treatment.

  6. Compare and contrast CLL and CML in terms of molecular mechanism, age at onset, symptoms, physical exam findings, typical blood counts, treatment, and outcome.