Our genome-wide association study (GWAS) of chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) identified 4 highly-correlated intronic variants within the IRF8 gene that were associated with CLL. These results were further supported by a recent meta-analysis of our GWAS with two other GWAS of CLL, supporting the IRF8 gene as a strong candidate for CLL risk.
To refine the genetic association of CLL risk, we performed Sanger sequencing of IRF8 in 94 CLL cases and 96 controls. We then performed fine-mapping by genotyping 39 variants (of which 10 were identified from sequencing) in 745 CLL cases and 1521 controls. We also assessed these associations with risk of other non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) subtypes.
The strongest association with CLL risk was observed with a common SNP located within the 3’ UTR of IRF8 (rs1044873, log additive odds ratio = 0.7, P=1.81×10−6). This SNP was not associated with the other NHL subtypes (all P>0.05).
We provide evidence that rs1044873 in the IRF8 gene accounts for the initial GWAS signal for CLL risk. This association appears to be unique to CLL with little support for association with other common NHL subtypes. Future work is needed to assess functional role of IRF8 in CLL etiology.
These data provide support that a functional variant within the 3’ UTR of IRF8 may be driving the GWAS signal seen on 16q24.1 for CLL risk.
CLL; NHL; SNPs; IRF8; risk locus
Monoclonal B cell lymphocytosis (MBL) is a hematologic condition wherein small B cell clones can be detected in the blood of asymptomatic individuals. Most MBL have an immunophenotype similar to chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL), and “CLL-like” MBL is a precursor to CLL. We used flow cytometry to identify MBL from unaffected members of CLL kindreds. We identified 101 MBL cases from 622 study subjects; of these, 82 individuals with MBL were further characterized. Ninety-one unique MBL clones were detected: 73 CLL-like MBL (CD5+CD20dimsIgdim), 11 atypical MBL (CD5+CD20+sIg+), and 7 CD5neg MBL (CD5negCD20+sIgneg). Extended immunophenotypic characterization of these MBL subtypes was performed, and significant differences in cell surface expression of CD23, CD49d, CD79b, and FMC-7 were observed among the groups. Markers of risk in CLL such as CD38, ZAP70, and CD49d were infrequently expressed in CLL-like MBL, but were expressed in the majority of atypical MBL. Interphase cytogenetics was performed in 35 MBL cases, and del 13q14 was most common (22/30 CLL-like MBL cases). Gene expression analysis using oligonucleotide arrays was performed on 7 CLL-like MBL, and showed activation of B cell receptor associated pathways. Our findings underscore the diversity of MBL subtypes and further clarify the relationship between MBL and other lymphoproliferative disorders.
Monoclonal B-cell lymphocytosis (MBL) is an asymptomatic haematological condition characterized by low absolute levels of B-cell clones with a surface immunophenotype similar to that of chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (CLL). In the general population, MBL increases with age with a prevalence of 5–9% in individuals over age 60 years. It has been reported to be higher among first-degree relatives from CLL families. We report results of multi-parameter flow cytometry among 505 first-degree relatives with no personal history of lymphoproliferative disease from 140 families having at least two cases of CLL. Seventeen percent of relatives had MBL. Age was the most important determinant where the probability for developing MBL by age 90 years was 61%. MBL clustered in certain families but clustering was independent of the number of known CLL cases in a family. As is the case with CLL, males had a significantly higher risk for MBL than did females (p=0.04). MBL patients had significantly higher mean absolute lymphocyte counts (2.4 × 109/l) and B-cell counts (0.53 × 109/l) than those with a normal B-cell immunophenotype. Our findings show that MBL occurs at a very high rate in high risk CLL families. Both the age and gender distribution of MBL are parallel to CLL, implying a shared inherited risk.
chronic lymphocytic leukaemia; high risk families; monoclonal B-cell lymphocytosis; flow cytometry
There is strong and consistent evidence that a genetic component contributes to the etiology of chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL). A recent genome-wide association study (GWAS) of CLL identified 7 genetic variants that increased the risk of CLL within a European population.
We evaluated the association of these variants, or variants in linkage disequilibrium (LD) with these variants, with CLL risk in an independent sample of 438 CLL cases and 328 controls.
Of these 7 SNPs, 6 had p-trend < 0.05 and had estimated odds ratios (ORs) that were strikingly comparable to those of the previous study. Associations were seen for rs9378805 (OR = 1.47, 95% CI: 1.19, 1.80, p-trend = 0.0003) near IRF4 and rs735665 near GRAMD1B (OR= 1.47; 95% CI: 1.14, 1.89; p-trend = 0.003). However, no associations (P> 0.05) were found for rs11083846, nor were any found for any SNPs in LD with rs11083846.
Our results confirm the previous findings and further support the role of a genetic basis in the etiology of CLL; however, more research is needed to elucidate the causal SNP(s) and the potential manner in which these SNPs or linked SNPs function in CLL pathogenesis.
IRF4; CLL; genetic association
To identify susceptibility loci for non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) subtypes, we conducted a three-stage genome-wide association study. We identified two variants associated with follicular lymphoma (FL) in 1,465 FL cases/6,958 controls at 6p21.32 (rs10484561, rs7755224, r2=1.0; combined p-values=1.12×10-29, 2.00×10-19), providing further support that MHC genetic variation influences FL susceptibility. Confirmatory evidence of a previously reported association was also found between chronic lymphocytic leukemia/small lymphocytic lymphoma and rs735665 (combined p-value=4.24×10-9).
Pre-therapy CLL patients from US Intergroup trial E2997 were analyzed with single nucleotide polymorphism microarrays to detect acquired chromosomal anomalies. The four CLL-typical anomalies (11q-, +12, 13q- and 17p-) were found at expected frequencies. Acquired anomalies in other regions account for 70% of the total detected and their number per subject has a significant effect on progression-free survival after adjusting for the effects of 17p- (and other covariates). These results were compared with a previous study of >50,000 subjects from the GENEVA consortium of genome-wide association studies, which analyzed individuals with a variety of medical conditions and healthy controls. The percentage of individuals with acquired anomalies is vastly different between the two studies (GENEVA 0.8%; E2997 80%). The composition also differs, with GENEVA having a higher percentage of acquired uniparental disomies and a lower percentage of deletions. The four common CLL anomalies are among the most frequent in GENEVA subjects, some of whom may have CLL-precursor conditions or early stages of CLL. However, the patients from E2997 (and other studies of symptomatic CLL) have recurrent acquired anomalies that were not found in GENEVA subjects, thus identifying genomic changes that may be unique to symptomatic stages of CLL.
Chromosomal aberration; Chromosomal mosaic; Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia; Cancer precursor condition; Cytogenetics
chronic lymphocytic leukaemia; Akt; B cell receptor; cytokine
We enrolled 28 eligible patients with relapsed chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) to a phase II study of single agent thalidomide (200 mg/d, with dose escalation up to 1000 mg/d over 60 days). The median age was 66 years and 71% were males. Study participants received a median of 2 (range 1–7) prior treatment regimens and 61% had Rai stage 3–4 disease at enrollment. Grade 3 or higher hematologic toxicity was observed in 13 (46%) and 16 (57%) had grade 3 or higher non-hematologic toxicity. Grade 3–4 tumor flare was observed in five (18%) patients. The overall response rate was 11% (3 of 28) with one (4%) complete remission and two (7%) partial remissions. Duration of response for these three responders was 3, 14 and 15 months. Fourteen (50%) patients had stabilisation of disease for a median duration of 8 months (95% CI: 7–16 months). Median time to progression for all 28 patients was 7.3 months. Although thalidomide appears to have modest clinical activity in pretreated/relapsed CLL primarily based on reduction of the absolute lymphocyte count, in our opinion the toxicity profile precludes it from more active investigation in CLL.
CLL; treatment; relapsed; thalidomide; angiogenesis
Although rituximab-based chemoimmunotherapy (CIT) has substantially improved clinical outcomes in chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL), only 40-50% of patients achieve a complete remission (CR). There remains interest in identifying new approaches to improve the effectiveness of CIT. Ofatumumab is a fully human anti-CD20 monoclonal antibody with greater apparent single agent activity than rituximab in CLL patients.
Previously untreated CLL patients in need of therapy received 6 cycles of CIT induction with pentostatin, cyclophosphamide and ofatumumab (PCO) followed by response assessment.
Of the 48 patients enrolled, 77% completed PCO induction. Adverse events during induction included grade 3+ hematologic toxicity (27%) and grade 3+ non-hematologic toxicity (23%). Median CD4 count post induction and 6 months later were 186 ×106/L and 272 ×106/L. The overall response rate was 96% (46/48) and the CR rate was 46% (22/48). Among the 38 patients who underwent minimal residual disease (MRD) evaluation, 7 (18%) were MRD negative. After median follow-up of 24 months, 10 (21%) patients have progressed and 8 (17%) have required retreatment. The efficacy and toxicity of ofatumumab-based CIT compare favorably to our historical trials of rituximab-based CIT using an identical chemotherapy backbone (n=64). Time to retreatment also appeared longer for ofatumumab-based CIT (free of retreatment at 24 months: 86% [95%CI: 75-99] vs 68% [95% CI: 56-81]).
Ofatumumab-based CIT is well tolerated in patients with previously untreated CLL. The efficacy of ofatumumab-based CIT compares favorably to historical trials of rituximab-based CIT suggesting randomized trials comparing ofatumumab-based CIT and rituximab-based CIT should be considered.
chronic lymphocytic leukemia(CLL; small lymphocytic lymphoma(SLL); treatment; ofatumumab; chemoimmunotherapy
Increased ZAP-70 expression predicts poor prognosis in chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL). Current methods for accurately measuring ZAP-70 expression are problematic, preventing widespread application of these tests in clinical decision making. We therefore used comprehensive DNA methylation profiling of the ZAP-70 regulatory region to identify sites important for transcriptional control.
Patients and Methods
High-resolution quantitative DNA methylation analysis of the entire ZAP-70 gene regulatory regions was conducted on 247 samples from patients with CLL from four independent clinical studies.
Through this comprehensive analysis, we identified a small area in the 5′ regulatory region of ZAP-70 that showed large variability in methylation in CLL samples but was universally methylated in normal B cells. High correlation with mRNA and protein expression, as well as activity in promoter reporter assays, revealed that within this differentially methylated region, a single CpG dinucleotide and neighboring nucleotides are particularly important in ZAP-70 transcriptional regulation. Furthermore, by using clustering approaches, we identified a prognostic role for this site in four independent data sets of patients with CLL using time to treatment, progression-free survival, and overall survival as clinical end points.
Comprehensive quantitative DNA methylation analysis of the ZAP-70 gene in CLL identified important regions responsible for transcriptional regulation. In addition, loss of methylation at a specific single CpG dinucleotide in the ZAP-70 5′ regulatory sequence is a highly predictive and reproducible biomarker of poor prognosis in this disease. This work demonstrates the feasibility of using quantitative specific ZAP-70 methylation analysis as a relevant clinically applicable prognostic test in CLL.
Nearly all information about patients with chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (CLL) who develop diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (Richter syndrome [RS]) is derived from retrospective case series or patients treated on clinical trials. We used the Mayo Clinic CLL Database to identify patients with newly diagnosed CLL (1/2000–7/2011). Individuals who developed biopsy-proven RS during follow-up were identified. After median follow-up of 4 years, 37/1641 (2.3%) CLL patients developed RS. The rate of RS was approximately 0.5%/year. Risk of RS was associated with advanced Rai stage at diagnosis (p<0.001), high-risk FISH (p<0.0001), unmutated IGHV (p=0.003), and expression of ZAP-70 (p=0.02) and CD38 (p=0.001). The rate of RS doubled in patients treated for CLL (1%/year). Stereotyped B-cell receptors (odds-ratio=4.2; p=0.01) but not VH4–39 was associated with increased risk of RS. Treatment with combination of purine analogues and alkylating agents increased the risk of RS 3-fold (odds-ratio= 3.26, p=0.0003). Median survival after RS diagnosis was 2.1 years. The RS prognosis score stratified patients into three risk groups with median survivals of 0.5 years, 2.1 years and not reached. Both underlying characteristics of the CLL clone and subsequent CLL therapy influence the risk of RS. Survival after RS remains poor and new therapies are needed.
transformation; aggressive lymphoma; stem cell transplantation; purine analogues; RS survival score
The Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group (ECOG) conducted a phase II trial of interleukin-12 (IL-12) for plateau phase multiple myeloma. Patients were initially treated with IL-12 250 ng/kg I.V. daily for 5 days every 3 weeks. The trial was modified due to toxicity after the first 16 patients. IL-12 was given 300 ng/kg subcutaneously twice weekly for 24 weeks. Of 48 eligible patients, there were 4 objective responses (8.3%), all CR. The median survival and progression-free survival were 42.8 and 11.4 months. Unacceptable grade 3 or 4 non-hematologic toxicity (31% with IL-12 subcutaneously and 63% with IL-12 intravenously) was observed.
Multiple myeloma; Interleukin-12; Immunomodulatory therapy
To better understand the implications of genomic instability and outcome in B-cell CLL, we sought to address genomic complexity as a predictor of chemosensitivity and ultimately clinical outcome in this disease. We employed array-based comparative genomic hybridization (aCGH), using a one-million probe array and identified gains and losses of genetic material in 48 patients treated on a chemoimmunotherapy (CIT) clinical trial. We identified chromosomal gain or loss in ≥6% of the patients on chromosomes 3, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14 and 17. Higher genomic complexity, as a mechanism favoring clonal selection, was associated with shorter progression-free survival and predicted a poor response to treatment. Of interest, CLL cases with loss of p53 surveillance showed more complex genomic features and were found both in patients with a 17p13.1 deletion and in the more favorable genetic subtype characterized by the presence of 13q14.1 deletion. This aCGH study adds information on the association between inferior trial response and increasing genetic complexity as CLL progresses.
CLL; aCGH; genotype; prognosis
Array comparative genomic hybridization (aCGH) technology is commonly used to estimate genome-wide copy number variation and to evaluate associations with copy number and disease. Although aCGH technology is well developed and there are numerous algorithms available for estimating copy number, little attention has been paid to the important issue of statistical experimental design. Herein, we review classical statistical experimental designs and discuss their relevance to aCGH technology as well as their importance for down-stream statistical analyses. Furthermore, we provide experimental design guidance for various study objectives.
We have shown that the combination of pentostatin (P), cyclophosphamide (C) and rituximab (R) achieves an overall response (OR) rate >90% with more than 40% complete responses (CR) in patients with untreated CLL. To evaluate if the tolerability of this regimen could be enhanced without sacrificing efficacy, we conducted a phase II trial of P and R without cyclophosphamide, using a higher P dose (4 mg/m2). Among the 33 patients enrolled, 82% were male, median age was 65 (9 patients ≥70 years) and 64% were Rai stage III-IV. The OR rate was 76% with 9 CR (27%), 5 nPR, and 11 PRs. At the time of this analysis, 29/33 patients are still alive and the median follow up for patients still alive is 14 months (range: 1-34.8 months). Four (12%) patients experienced grade 3 or higher hematologic toxicity and 5 (15%) experienced grade 3 or higher non-hematologic toxicity. Comparison of this trial to our previous PCR trial showed that patients treated with PCR had a higher OR rate (91% vs. 76%) and CR rate (41% vs. 27%) compared to patients treated with PR. Median treatment-free survival for all accrued patients was notably longer in PCR treated patients compared to PR (30 vs. 16 months). These findings suggest that increasing the dose of the purine nucleoside analogue does not eliminate the need for cyclophosphamide in chemoimmunotherapy for treatment of CLL.
pentostatin; rituximab; cyclophosphamide; chemoimmunotherapy; response rates; B-CLL
Receptor tyrosine kinases (RTKs) are cell-surface transmembrane receptors that contain regulated kinase activity within their cytoplasmic domain and play a critical role in signal transduction in both normal and malignant cells. Besides B-cell receptor (BCR) signaling in CLL, multiple RTKs have been reported to be constitutively active in CLL B-cells resulting in enhanced survival and resistance to apoptosis of the leukemic cells induced by chemotherapeutic agents. In addition to increased plasma levels of various types of cytokines/growth factors in CLL, we and others have detected that CLL B-cells spontaneously produce multiple cytokines in vitro which may constitute an autocrine loop of RTK activation on the leukemic B-cells. Moreover, aberrant expression and activation of non-RTKs, for example Src/Syk kinases, induce resistance of the leukemic B-cells to therapy. Based on current available knowledge, we detailed the impact of aberrant activities of various RTKs/non-RTKs on CLL B-cell survival and the potential of using these signaling components as future therapeutic targets in CLL therapy.
CLL; Signal Transduction; RTK; Non-RTK; Apoptosis; Kinase Inhibitor; Therapy
Improved medical care could have altered the clinical presentation and survival of patients with chronic lymphocytic leukemia/small lymphocytic lymphoma (CLL) complicated by autoimmune cytopenia (AID cytopenia). We reviewed the clinical characteristics, treatment, and outcome of AID cytopenia that was diagnosed in 75 (4.3%) of 1750 CLL patients seen at a single institution over 10 years. Compared to historical reported data, our study shows a lower rate of autoimmune hemolytic anemia (2.3%), and similar rates of immune thrombocytopenia (2.0%) and pure red blood cell aplasia (0.5%). AID cytopenia occurred at all stages of CLL, responded well to treatment, did not alter overall survival, and contributed to death in only 6 (12%) patients. We propose that more sensitive and accurate diagnostic methods for CLL have decreased the perceived prevalence of AID cytopenia and that improvements in management could have increased the survival of these patients.
Statins and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are among the most commonly prescribed medications. In vitro studies suggest that statins and NSAIDs may have potential as anti-cancer therapies in low grade non-Hodgkin lymphomas including chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) and a recent observational study found statin use was associated with improved event free survival in patients with follicular lymphoma. Other studies have suggested that statins reduce the efficacy of rituximab by inhibiting binding to CD20. We therefore conducted an observational cohort study of 686 patients with newly diagnosed Rai stage 0 CLL to evaluate whether statin or NSAID use was related to their clinical outcome or influenced the efficacy of rituximab therapy. At diagnosis, 136 (20%) patients took statins and 230 (34%) scheduled daily aspirin, ibuprofen, or naproxen. No difference in time to treatment was observed based on statin or NSAID use. Among patients receiving a rituximab containing first-line therapy, no difference in time to salvage treatment was observed based on statin use. Although previous studies suggested statins may improve event free survival among patients with follicular lymphoma, we find no impact of statins on time to initial therapy in this large study of patients with Rai stage 0 CLL. The in vitro observation that statins reduce rituximab efficacy does not appear to have clinical significance in CLL care.
While B-Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia (CLL) is known to be a heterogeneous disease, it is only recently that the familial component of CLL has been more thoroughly investigated. This entity is seen in approximately 5–10% of all CLL patients and can be associated with earlier age of diagnosis, more female prevalence, and increased incidence of other lymphoproliferative disorders (LPD), such as non-Hodgkin Lymphoma and the more recently described monoclonal B cell lymphocytosis CLL in family members. The prognostic parameters and clinical course of familial CLL is not clearly distinguishable from that of sporadic disease. In addition, it is not clear that the treatment responses for progressive disease has any discernible difference in familial vs. sporadic CLL. The genetic etiology of CLL is unknown and early work on familial CLL has not yet uncovered any obvious gene or group of genes that can be clearly related to the pathophysiology of CLL. However, the detailed genetic study of familial CLL is likely to be critical in uncovering relevant genes. At present it is best to indicate to concerned CLL patients that their relatives are at relatively low risk of developing CLL or other LPD.
Familial CLL; Sporadic CLL; genetics; prognosis; clinical course
Patients with B-chronic lymphocytic leukemia/small lymphocytic lymphoma (CLL) have a 5–10% risk of developing autoimmune complications which primarily cause cytopenia. These autoimmune cytopenias can occur at any stage of CLL and do not have independent prognostic significance. The most common autoimmune complication is autoimmune hemolytic anemia with a lower frequency of immune thrombocytopenia and pure red blood cell aplasia and only rare patients with autoimmune granulocytopenia. Autoimmune cytopenia should always be considered in the differential diagnosis of cytopenia in patients with CLL. Patients with CLL can also have more than one form of autoimmune cytopenia which can occur together with bone marrow failure. Treatment is usually effective but rarely curative for autoimmune cytopenia complicating CLL. Optimal therapy will depend on a timely and accurate diagnosis of autoimmune cytopenia and should be individualized according to the severity of the cytopenia and the presence or absence of concomitant progressive CLL requiring therapy.
Chronic lymphocytic leukemia; small lymphocytic lymphoma; autoimmune hemolytic anemia; immune thrombocytopenia; pure red blood cell aplasia
To follow-up the results of phase I testing by evaluating the clinical efficacy of the green tea extract Polyphenon E for patients with early stage chronic lymphocytic leukemia(CLL).
Previously untreated patients with asymptomatic, Rai stage 0-II CLL and an absolute lymphocyte count(ALC) ≥10 ×109/L were eligible for this phase II trial. Polyphenon E with a standardized dose of epigallocatechin-3-gallate(2000 mg per dose) was administered twice daily.
Forty-two patients received Polyphenon E 2000 mg twice daily for up to 6 months. Among these, 29 (69%) had Rai stage I-II disease. Patients received a median of 6 cycles of treatment(range: 1-6). The most common grade 3 side effects were transaminitis (n=1), abdominal pain(n=1) and fatigue(n=1). Clinical activity was observed with 13(31%) patients experiencing a sustained ≥20% reduction in ALC and 20 of 29(69%) patients with palpable adenopathy experiencing at least a 50% reduction in the sum of the products of all nodal areas. EGCG plasma levels after 1 month of therapy correlated with reductions in lymphadenopathy (correlation 0.44; p=0.02). Overall, 29(69%) patients fulfilled the criteria for a biologic response with either a sustained ≥20% decline in ALC and/or a ≥30% reduction in the sum of the products of all nodal areas at some point during the 6 months of active treatment.
Daily oral EGCG in the Polyphenon E preparation was well tolerated by CLL patients in this phase II trial. Durable declines in ALC and/or lymphadenopathy were observed in the majority of patients.
To analyze the survival of CLL patients relative to age-matched individuals in the general population and determined the age-stratified utility of prognostic testing.
All 2487 patients diagnosed with CLL between January 1995 and June 2008 and cared for in the Mayo Division of Hematology were categorized by age at diagnosis and evaluated for differences in clinical characteristics, time to first treatment(TFT), and overall survival(OS).
Among Rai stage 0 patients, survival was shorter than the age-matched general population for patients age<55 years(p<0.001), 55-64 years(p<0.001), and 65-74 years(p<0.001) but not those age≥75 at diagnosis(p=NS). CD38, IGHV mutation, and ZAP-70 each predicted TFT independent of stage for all age groups(all p <0.04) but had less value for predicting OS, particularly as age increased. IGHV and FISH predicted OS independent of stage for patients
Survival of CLL patients age<75 is shorter than the age-matched general population regardless of disease stage. Among patients age<75, the simple combinations of stage and IGHV or stage and FISH identifies those with excess risk of death relative to the age-matched population. Although useful for predicting TFT independent of stage for patients of all ages, prognostic testing had little utility for predicting OS independent of stage among patients age≥75.
The impact of physicians’ disease-specific expertise on patient outcome is unknown. While previous studies suggest a survival advantage for cancer patients cared for at high volume centers, these observations may simply reflect referral bias or better access to advanced technologies, clinical trials, and multidisciplinary support at large centers.
We evaluated time to first treatment(TTFT) and overall survival(OS) of patients with newly diagnosed chronic lymphocytic leukemia/small lymphocytic lymphoma(CLL) at a single academic center based on whether they were cared for by a hematologist/oncologist who sub-specializes in CLL(CLL hematologist) or a hematologist/oncologist with expertise in other areas(non-CLL hematologist).
Among 1309 newly diagnosed patients with CLL cared for between 1999–2009, 773(59%) were cared for by CLL hematologists and 536 were cared for by non-CLL hematologists. Among early stage patients(Rai 0-I), median TTFT(9.2 vs. 6.1 years; p<0.001) and OS(10.5 years vs. 8.8 years; p<0.001) were superior for patients cared for by CLL hematologists. For all patients, OS was superior for patients cared for by CLL hematologists(10.5 years vs. 8.4 years; p=0.001). Physician’s disease-specific expertise remained an independent predictor of OS after adjusting for age, stage, sex, and lymphocyte count. Patients seen by a CLL hematologist were also more likely participate in clinical trials(48% vs. 16%; p<0.001).
Physician disease-specific expertise appears to influence outcome in patients with CLL. To the greatest extent possible, patients should be cared for by a hematologist/oncologist expert in the care of their specific malignancy. When not possible, practice guidelines developed by disease-specific experts should be followed.
chronic lymphocytic lymphoma(CLL); small lymphocytic lymphoma (SLL); prognosis; physician expertise
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