Chronic Lymphocytic leukemia (CLL), also called B-cell chronic lymphocytic leukemia is typically a slow growing cancer of a white blood cell called lymphocytes. CLL is the most common leukemia and is predominately a disease of the elderly. Estimates suggest that more than 15,000 men and women in the United States were diagnosed with CLL in 2007. Approximately one-third of the patients are under age 65 and about 10% are under age 55 years.
CLL is characterized by the progressive accumulation of mature appearing small B lymphocytes.
For patients with CLL, a blood or marrow transplant becomes a treatment option when chemotherapy or targeted therapies do not work very well and the disease returns. Both autologous and allogeneic transplants have been used for patients with CLL. Whether a transplant is right for an individual patient depends on factors such as overall treatment response, general health and stage of the disease. In CLL the type of cytogenetic abnormality present in the bone marrow is important in defining high-risk. Patients who have high-risk cytogenetics, who have a short period of remission after chemotherapy or who have a poor response to chemotherapy may benefit from consideration of an allogeneic transplant using a reduced intensity preparative regimen (lower doses of chemotherapy).