Radiation Oncology/NHL/CLL-SLL

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Front Page: Radiation Oncology | RTOG Trials | Randomized Trials

Non-Hodgkin lymphoma: Main Page | Randomized
Overview: Overview | Follicular | Diffuse large B-cell | MALT | Nodal marginal zone | Mantle cell | CLL/SLL | Lymphoblastic | Burkitt | NK/T cell | Anaplastic large cell | Primary CNS Lymphoma
Treatment: Aggressive | Specific sites | Radioimmunotherapy


Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia and Small Lymphocytic Lymphoma (CLL/SLL)


Overview[edit]

  • CLL is the most common leukemia among adults in Western world
  • It is characterized by accumulation of mature B-cells
    • CLL molecular phenotype: CD5+, CD23+, surface Ig weak, CD79b weak/absent, FMC7 neg.
    • Diagnosis: lymphocytosis (often >5 x 10^9 / L, but not an absolute cutoff)
  • Risk factors are male sec, advanced age, white race, and family history of CLL or lymphoproliferative disorders
  • Cause and pathogenesis are largely unknown
    • Peripheral blood of some healthy adults shows circulating B-cell clones with surface phenotypes simlar to CLL
    • Monocloncal B-cell lymphomatosis (MBL) indicates presence of such B-cells in blood at <5000 per cubic millimeter
    • Prevalence of MBL may be 3-5% in general population >50 years of age
    • It appears that these circulating B-cell clones may be present in blood of for years prior to development of CLL, and that the light chain re-arrangement is the same
    • Thus, it may be reasonable to consider MBL a precursor state to CLL, in a similar fashion as MGUS is a precursor state to multiple myeloma
  • CLL and SLL are histologically and immunophenotypically identical
    • By definition, CLL has more marked peripheral blood involvement
    • CLL: absolute lymphocyte count >=5 x109/L
    • SLL: absolute lymphocyte count <5 x109/L
  • Clinical course varies widely, but frequently characterized by indolent behavior
  • Treatment commonly deferred while patients asymptomatic
  • No consensus on best treatment, but nucleoside analogues and Rituxan have lead to improved outcomes

Staging[edit]

Rai Staging

Rai Stage Criteria Survival (yr)
0 lymphocytosis only. no other abnormality > 13
I lymphocytosis and lymph node enlargement. no other abnormality 8
II lymphocytosis and spleen or liver enlargement (w/ or w/o lymph node enlargement). no other abnormality 5
III lymphocytosis and anemia (Hgb < 11 g/dL); w/ or w/o spleen / liver / lymph node enlargement. no platelet abnormality 2
IV lymphocytosis and thrombocytopenia (plts < 100,000 /µL) 1


Binet Staging

Binet Stage Criteria Survival (yr)
A <3 lymph node areas; no anemia or thrombocytopenia 12
B 3 or more lymph node areas; no anemia or thrombocytopenia 5
C Anemia (Hgb < 11) or thrombocytopenia (< 100,000 /µL) 2

Classification[edit]

  • MD Anderson; 2007 (1985-2005) PMID 17925562 -- "Assessment of chronic lymphocytic leukemia and small lymphocytic lymphoma by absolute lymphocyte counts in 2,126 patients: 20 years of experience at the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center." (Tsimberidou AM, J Clin Oncol. 2007 Oct 10;25(29):4648-56.)
    • Retrospective. 2126 consecutive CLL/SLL patients
    • Outcome: rates of response, OS, and FFS not different among different groups
    • Predictive factors: deletion of 17p or 6q, age >60, b2-microglobulin >2, albumin <3.5, creatinine >1.6
    • Conclusion: Patients with CLL or SLL can be treated similarly


Richter's transformation[edit]

  • Named for Maurice N. Richter who described it in 1928
  • Development of high grade NHL (typically diffuse large B-cell lymphoma) in the setting of CLL
  • May be triggered by viral infections (e.g. EBV) or by genetic defects acquired by the malignant clone
  • Occurs in ~4% of CLL patients
  • Response rates to chemotherapy are low, up to ~40%; median OS is ~8 months


  • 1993 PMID 7693038, 1993 — "Common clonal origin of chronic lymphocytic leukemia and high-grade lymphoma of Richter's syndrome." Cherepakhin V et al. Blood. 1993 Nov 15;82(10):3141-7.
  • 1975 PMID 1096589, 1975 — "Richter's syndrome. A terminal complication of chronic lymphocytic leukemia with distinct clinicopathologic features." Long JC et al. Am J Clin Pathol. 1975 Jun;63(6):786-95.
  • Original description; 1928 No PMID, 1928 — "Generalized reticular cell sarcoma of lymph nodes associated with lymphatic leukemia." Richter MN et al. Am J Pathol. 1928; 4:285.


Radiation Therapy[edit]

Reviews[edit]

  • 2006 PMID 16983131 -- "Narrative review: initial management of newly diagnosed, early-stage chronic lymphocytic leukemia." (Shanafelt TD, Ann Intern Med. 2006 Sep 19;145(6):435-47.)
  • 2006 PMID 16901035 -- "Chronic lymphocytic leukemia: diagnosis and treatment." (Yee KW, Mayo Clin Proc. 2006 Aug;81(8):1105-29.)