Small lymphocytic lymphoma (SLL) is a non-Hodgkin lymphoma affecting the B-lymphocytes of the immune system. This condition is now considered different manifestations of the same disease process as chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL). On imaging, they are mostly depicted as lymphadenopathy.
Both CLL and SLL are characterized by small and mature lymphocytes present in the bone marrow, lymphoid tissue, and peripheral blood. In SLL though, the disease is more confined to the lymph nodes rather than the bloodstream 3. Imaging, therefore, depicts visible nodal disease in these patients.
In cases with a prior established diagnosis of the chronic lymphocytic leukemia, consider Richter transformation if on imaging there is the occurrence of nodal or mass-like disease on subsequent scans.
- 1. Santos FP, O'Brien S. Small lymphocytic lymphoma and chronic lymphocytic leukemia: are they the same disease?. Cancer J. 2012;18 (5): 396-403. doi:10.1097/PPO.0b013e31826cda2d - Pubmed citation
- 2. Batata A, Shen B. Relationship between chronic lymphocytic leukemia and small lymphocytic lymphoma. A comparative study of membrane phenotypes in 270 cases. Cancer. 1992;70 (3): 625-32. Pubmed citation
- 3. Girish S. Shroff, Mylene T. Truong, Brett W. Carter, Marcelo F. Benveniste, Rashmi Kanagal-Shamanna, Greg Rauch, Chitra Viswanathan, Prajwal C. Boddu, Naval Daver, Carol C. Wu. Leukemic Involvement in the Thorax. (2019) RadioGraphics. 39 (1): 44-61. doi:10.1148/rg.2019180069 - Pubmed
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