Chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) is thought to be a disease of resting lymphocytes. However, recent data suggest that CLL cells may more closely resemble activated B cells. Using microRNA (miRNA) expression profiling of highly-enriched CLL cells from 38 patients and 9 untransformed B cells from normal donors before acute CpG activation and 5 matched B cells after acute CpG activation, we demonstrate an activated B cell status for CLL. Gene set enrichment analysis (GSEA) identified statistically-significant similarities in miRNA expression between activated B cells and CLL cells including upregulation of miR-34a, miR-155, and miR-342-3p and downregulation of miR-103, miR-181a and miR-181b. Additionally, decreased levels of two CLL signature miRNAs miR-29c and miR-223 are associated with ZAP70(+) and IgV(H) unmutated status and with shorter time to first therapy. These data indicate an activated B cell status for CLL cells and suggest that the direction of change of individual miRNAs may predict clinical course in CLL.