Home > Patient Educational Videos > Leukemia (CLL) - General Concepts: What is Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia?

What is Chronic lymphocytic leukemia:

There had been a general belief that CLL is an indolent disease associated with a prolonged (10 to 20 years) clinical course, and that the eventual cause of death may be unrelated to CLL. 

However, this observation is true for less than 30 percent of all CLL cases. It can present with much more aggressive disease in some patients, with symptoms appearing within two to three years from diagnosis, from complications or causes directly related to CLL. Other patients live for 5 to 10 years with an initial course that is relatively benign followed by a terminal phase lasting one to two years. During this terminal phase there is considerable morbidity, both from the disease itself and from complications of therapy.

As noted above, the natural history of CLL is extremely variable, with survival times from initial diagnosis that range from 2 to 20 years, and a median survival of approximately 10 years.

The Rai Staging system is based upon the concept that in CLL there is a gradual and progressive increase in the body burden of leukemic lymphocytes, starting in the blood and bone marrow (lymphocytosis), progressively involving lymph nodes (lymphadenopathy), spleen and liver (organomegaly), with eventual compromise of bone marrow function (anemia and thrombocytopenia).

Here, Dr. Tony Talebi discusses general concepts of chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) with Dr. Joseph Rosenblatt, Chief of Hematology/Oncology at the University of Miami Comprehensive Cancer Center and a world renowned expert in this field.  The discussion includes symptoms, diagnosis, genetic implications, prognosis, autoimmune hemolytic anemias, increased risk of infections, and chemotherapy treatment of chronic lymphocytic leukemia,CLL prognosis, what causes CLL, signs of CLL, CLL symptoms, CLL, CLL stage 4, treatment of CLL, CLL association, stage four CLL, small cell CLL, symtoms of CLL, causes of CLL, CLL chemotherapy, what is CLL, CLLs, CLL information, CLL prevention, stage 4 CLL, information about CLL, stage iv CLL, CLL signs, CLL symptom, is CLL curable, stage 3b CLL, lungs cancer symptoms, survival rates for CLL, symptoms of CLL, CLL survivors, CLL symptons, CLL survival, treatments of CLL, symptons of CLL, CLL statistics, non small cell CLL, chemo for CLL, CLL survival rate, large cell CLL,effects of CLL, CLL screening, CLL diagnosis, CLL society, CLL clinical trials, CLL metastasis, survival rate CLL,symptom of CLL, info on CLL, new treatments for CLL, how common is CLL.

Dr. Joseph Rosenblatt credentials.

Professor of Hematology and Microbiology
Chief of Hematology/Oncology

Board Certifications
American Board of Internal Medicine 
American Board of Internal Med-Medical Oncology

Practice Locations
University of Miami Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center


UCLA - University of California, School of Medicine
Los Angeles, CA
Fellowship Hematology-Oncology 1986
UCLA - University of California, School of Medicine
Los Angeles, CA
Residency Department of Medicine 1983
UCLA - University of California, School of Medicine
Los Angeles, CA
M.D. Internal Medicine 1980
University of California
Los Angeles, CA
B.S. Chemistry 1976