26 Apr 2019

Familial chronic lymphocytic leukemia

This article reviewed what is known about familial chronic lymphocytic leukemia (fCLL).

Chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) can be described as two types. In sporadic CLL (sCLL), patients do not have a family history of CLL. In fCLL, patients will have at least one blood relative (such as a sibling or cousin) diagnosed with CLL. A family history of CLL may also increase the risk of other blood cancers. fCLL occurs in roughly 5% to 10% of all patients wtih CLL.

The current review discusses the definition and features of fCLL.

A family member with CLL increases the risk of developing CLL 2.5- to 7.5-fold. There is also a 45% increased risk of developing non-Hodgkin lymphoma, and a 2.35-fold increase risk of developing Hodgkin lymphoma.

Staging and prognosis for patients with fCLL are determined in the same way as sCLL. Females tend to develop fCLL more often than males. Females with fCLL are also more likely to develop second tumors than females with sCLL. FCLL tends to occur at ages roughly 10 years younger than sCLL.

The rate of higher disease stage (severity) is similar between fCLL and sCLL. No significant differences in survival have been noted between the two.  Response to treatment is also similar.

Genetic mutations (permanent changes) are important factors in predicting prognosis. These mutations cause the overexpression (increased presence) of certain proteins and substances. These mutations are generally reported to be similar in fCLL and sCLL. Further studies are needed to evaluate genetic differences between fCLL and sCLL.