Last Updated on Jun 22, 2016

Causes & Risk Factors of Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia

Although several factors have been implicated, it is still not known why one person develops CLL while another does not.

The cause(s) of CLL is by far unknown. DNA damage triggers the blood cell precursors to become abnormal. But what causes it? Scientists suspect the role of the following factors in causing CLL -

  • Hereditary factors: First-degree relatives of a patient, such as siblings and offsprings, have a 6-7-fold chance of acquiring the disease. They also have a 2-fold chance of developing Hodgkin’s or non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. Puplications in 2007 indicate that researchers have identified the first inherited gene mutation that increases an individual's risk for CLL.

However, the majority of CLL cases are not inherited. Only a small section of individuals with this kind of leukemia have a family history.

  • Immunologic defects: Disorders, like Ataxia-telangiectasia or acquired agammaglobulinemia make an individual more prone to develop CLL.
  • Age: CLL is more common among the elderly, so age is considered a major risk factor.
  • Environmental factors:
  1. Herbicides, such as the defoliants used in the Vietnam War, have been implicated as a cause of CLL.
  2. Certain insecticides are also suggested to be causative agents.

CLL is not known to be associated with virus, radiation exposure or with carcinogenic chemicals, like benzene.

Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia - Reference:


JLD1948 Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Can hyperbaric oxygen therapy be used to treat CLL ?? My Dad is 92 and mild diabetic. He was holding his own until a lymph gland swelled up under his arm; they did radiation; the tumor burst and is now an open wound under his arm. They are doing wound care; three times per week; but it is extremely painful for him. I know that the Hyperbaric treatments are beneficial for numerous wounds and ailments. Could it possibly be beneficial to heal this open would under his arm ?

jen71 Wednesday, July 4, 2012

My dad has been just diagnosed with cll. He is 65 yrs old, a smoker for about 50yrs. now. He said he has not felt right for about 4-5yrs. said he knew something was wrong. His white blood cell count is 280,000 and still fighting shingles. What is his prognosis?

dazedandconfused Monday, April 23, 2012

I'm 48 years old and have had 7 heart attacks in the last 14 years along with 12 stents. Recently I was diagnosed with stage 4 CLL. Can you give me any ideas on life expectancy?

saba_mother Tuesday, July 20, 2010

my mother is diagnosed with CLL, 63 is the count of platelets and 112400 of wbc what are te chances

wanda Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Is CLL hereditary?

John66 Friday, January 11, 2013

Yes, my doctor told me it was. I have CLL and my brother and sister has it.

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