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Chronic Lymphoblastic Leukemia (CLL) Treatment

Chronic Lymphoblastic Leukemia (CLL) Treatment

CLL is type of blood cancer, similar in many ways to acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL). However, there are some important differences. First, CLL is rarer than ALL, with about 200,000 cases in the United States every year. Also, CLL progresses more slowly than ALL. It may take several years before symptoms even become apparent. Furthermore, CLL is rare in children and is most common in adults over the age of 40.

CLL page

Risk Factors

The exact cause of the majority of CLL cases is undetermined. However, there are certain risk factors that, when present, may increase the likelihood of developing CLL:

  • Exposure to pesticides and certain other chemicals
  • Family history of leukemia or other blood malignancies
  • Advanced age


CLL is characterized by the uncontrolled growth of abnormal lymphocytes, specifically B cells, which cannot function properly. These lymphocytes take space and resources away from other blood cells, such as red blood cells and platelets, leading to a compromised immune system. Therefore, patients are subject to frequent and severe infections.

CLL typically progresses very slowly. Many patients are not even aware they have the disease until they have a routine blood cell count that shows a problem. Even if symptoms appear, patients often attribute them to another cause, especially since the majority of CLL patient are elderly and often have other medical conditions.


Signs and symptoms of CLL include:

  • Frequent infections
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Fever
  • Enlarged and/or painful spleen
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Night sweats

Chronic Lymphoblastic Leukemia Treatment In Israel

A precise diagnosis of the exact CLL type is crucial for effective treatment. Sheba Medical Cancer Center is proud to have many high-tech diagnostic techniques available, along with expert, experienced staff, for accurate diagnoses. These techniques include complete cytogenetic profiles with advanced equipment.

The primary treatment for CLL is typically conventional chemotherapy or targeted chemotherapy. At Sheba Medical Cancer Center, we use the latest approved chemotherapy drugs, administered under strict safety guidelines. Bone marrow stem cell transplants are also used in some CLL treatments. Our cutting-edge Bone Marrow Clinic handles stem cell therapy for our patients, with hundred of treatments performed each year. The stem cells used are donated from family members or unrelated individuals. The cells are harvested from peripheral blood, cord blood, or bone marrow.

There are also other treatment options for CLL available at Sheba including radiation therapy, which may be used in conjunction with chemotherapy. Immunotherapy for CLL is another possibility, and we are conducting continuing research into this treatment approach.

Whatever treatment options are used, our patients always receive complete care from a multidisciplinary team of oncologists, hematologists, radiation oncologists, nursing, and support staff. Our teams are in constant communication and collaboration with their clinician and research colleagues in order to present our patients with the best possible treatments.

Read More


Dr. Abraham Kneller
The coordinator of the CLL unit within the Department of Hematology.

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