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Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia

CLL: Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia


Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia (CLL) is manifested by progressive accumulation of B lymphocytes in the blood, bone marrow, and lymphatic tissues. The disease displays a highly variable clinical course. It is preceded by a pre-leukemic phase (monoclonal B-cell lymphocytosis, MBL) that occurs in up to 12% of healthy elderly persons.

In some individuals, MBL progresses to overt CLL, which may be characterized by lymphatic enlargement with reduced numbers of platelets and red & white blood cells. Recent discoveries in biology, therapy, and their interrelationship have resulted in groundbreaking advances in the treatment of CLL. At present, five-year survival after diagnosis is approximately 70-80%, with substantial individual variation. Primarily affecting middle-aged and elderly adults, CLL is the most common form of adult leukemia in Europe.

Key questions

By combining data of thousands of CLL patients, HARMONY aspires to identify robust prognostic markers for clinical course and drug response. These markers may constitute patient characteristics (e.g., age, fitness), genetic variables (e.g., TP53 mutation status), and other molecular data (e.g., minimal residual disease, MRD). In the future, this will improve CLL management by facilitating personalized treatment choices. Examples of key questions that HARMONY will address for CLL are:

Why does MBL evolve to overt CLL in some individuals and not in others?

Which genetic markers can predict drug response and clinical evolution?

How should novel drugs be applied in CLL treatment?

Which patient subgroups benefit most from specific therapeutic strategies? Is any particular treatment superior to another in a particular patient?

How can we improve the measurement of certain outcomes and what do these outcomes mean?

CLL Features

HARMONY Leadership: CLL