Leukemia (CLL)

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What are the Stages of CLL?

Dr. Matthew Davids Dana-Farber Cancer Institute

Doctors use the Rai staging system for chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) which involves only blood tests and a physical exam. (The Binet system is more often used in Europe.) The stages are broken up into early-stage (stages zero, 1 and 2) and advanced (stages 3 and 4). Early in the disease, the lymphocyte count is high and the lymph nodes, liver and spleen may be effected to varying degrees.

Most patients in the early-stage do not require any therapy and may be placed on observation for months, or even years. Advanced-stage means the disease has infiltrated the bone marrow, and caused low red blood cell count (anemia) or low platelets (thrombocytopenia).



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Dr. Matthew Davids is an Assistant Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School and the Associate Director of the Dana-Farber CLL Center. Read More

Treatment: Oral Medications

For patients diagnosed with CLL, the go-to treatment option is usually some form of chemo-immunotherapy. But this is not an option for all patients.


Oral Medicine for Relapsed CLL: Venetoclax


Oral Medicine for CLL: Ibrutinib


Oral Medicine for Relapsed CLL

Dr. Matthew Davids
Dana-Farber Cancer Institute