Small lymphocytic lymphoma

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.

Differential diagnosis

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.

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Article information

rID: 39272
System: Haematology
Synonyms or Alternate Spellings:
  • Small lymphocytic lymphoma SLL
  • Small lymphocytic lymphoma (SLL)
  • SLL

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Cases and figures

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