Infectious Complications of Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia

Punit D. Wadhwa, Vicki A. Morrison

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

145 Scopus citations


Infectious complications continue to be one of the major causes of morbidity and mortality in patients with chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL). The pathogenesis of infections in these patients is multifactorial. Hypogammaglobulinemia is an important predisposing factor for infection in patients with early-stage disease and for those treated with conventional alkylating agents. However, the proportion of patients treated with purine analogs and monoclonal antibodies such as rituximab and alemtuzumab is increasing. As a result of this therapy, these patients often experience profound and sustained T-cell immunodeficiency. Consequently, the spectrum of organisms causing infections in these patients is changing from common bacterial organisms to less common opportunistic pathogens such as Pneumocystis, Listeria, mycobacteria, herpesviruses, and Candida. This review focuses on the pathogenesis and risk factors for infections in patients with CLL, the spectrum of infectious organisms associated with the newer agents, and the management of these infections with an emphasis on prophylaxis and vaccination strategies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)240-249
Number of pages10
JournalSeminars in Oncology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2006


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