Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia, Small Lymphocytic Lymphoma, and Monoclonal B-Cell Lymphocytosis

Surg Pathol Clin. 2010 Dec;3(4):907-31. doi: 10.1016/j.path.2010.09.009. Epub 2010 Nov 27.


Chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL), small lymphocytic lymphoma (SLL), and monoclonal B-cell lymphocytosis (MBL) are clonal proliferations of small, mature B cells. CLL and SLL are considered neoplastic, although they are indolent and many patients with these lymphomas never require treatment. Most MBL cases share immunophenotypic and genetic features with CLL and SLL but have a small burden of clonal cells. This review focuses on the pathologic features of CLL, SLL, and MBL and their differential diagnoses. Guidelines are provided to separate the entities from one another and to avoid pitfalls in distinguishing these entities from other lymphomas and from reactive lymphoid proliferations.

Keywords: Chronic lymphocytic leukemia; Lymphocytosis; Lymphoproliferative; Small lymphocytic lymphoma.

Publication types

  • Review