In recent years, Health Canada has approved new therapies for chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL). Researchers are studying other possible new treatments in clinical trials. Some studies suggest that newer treatment combinations and approaches may improve survival length.
Treatment outcomes are influenced by several factors, including but not limited to:
- The disease's stage
- The presence or lack of certain factors associated with higher-risk disease
- Your age
- Overall health of the patient
Studies suggest that newer treatment combinations and approaches may improve the length of survival. People with CLL should consult with their doctors to discuss individual potential outcomes.
For survival statistics, click here.
Measuring Treatment Response
People with chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) have a range of responses after treatment. The National Cancer Institute sponsored Working Group has recommended categories and guidelines to define treatment response. The table below describes each category. Talk with your doctor about your treatment results.
|Complete response (CR)||
|Partial response (PR)||
|Nodular partial response||Same factors as a complete response but with persistent lymphocytic nodules in the marrow|
At least one of the following:
|Stable disease||An absence of complete response or partial response, without progressive disease|
Minimal Residual Disease
Some people with CLL have a very low level of remaining CLL cells after treatment. The remaining CLL cells are called minimal residual disease (MRD). The usual blood and marrow tests can't detect MRD. Your doctor may examine your blood or bone marrow using extra sensitive molecular tests such as four-color cell flow cytometry and polymerase chain reaction (PCR) for any remaining cancer cells. If MRD is detected and you're considered in relapse, your doctor will likely start treatment again.