Chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) is characterized by a highly variable clinical course. Among the biological features underlying this heterogeneity, genetic lesions and the mutational status of the immunoglobulin heavy chain variable genes (IGHV) are of importance. Therapeutic options in CLL have been considerably expanded during recent years. The combination of fludarabine, cyclophosphamide and rituximab (FCR) has become gold standard in the first-line treatment of physically fit patients. Bendamustine plus rituximab (BR) is currently being compared to FCR in studies and chlorambucil is still of relevance for elderly patients with comorbidities. Alemtuzumab is an alternative for high-risk patients (refractory CLL, 17p deletion, TP53 mutation). Allogeneic stem cell transplantation (allo-SCT) offers the only chance of cure but not without substantial mortality. Innovative approaches focus on individualized, targeted therapies. A number of novel agents are in clinical trials and show marked efficacy combined with good tolerability. This review provides an overview of the current therapeutic options and of promising novel approaches.