Primary care management of early stage chronic lymphocytic leukaemia is safe and effective

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


  • N. P. Mudondo
  • Peter Hazlewood
  • Tina McSkeane
  • S. Aung
  • J. Murray
  • Donald Milligan

External organisations

  • Heart of England National Health Service Foundation Trust; Birmingham; UK
  • Queen Elizabeth Hospital



Chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (CLL) is the commonest leukaemia in western society. Most patients are detected incidentally at an early stage and require 'watch and wait' follow-up. In the UK, management of Stage A0 CLL varies with some centres advising regular outpatient haematology follow-up, whereas others recommend management within primary care. The safety and effectiveness of these two management options are currently unknown.

An observational retrospective cohort study in outpatient Haematology clinics at Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham (QEH) and Birmingham Heartlands Hospital (BHH) and primary care practices in West Midlands, UK. All patients diagnosed with stable stage A0 CLL since 2002 at BHH or QEH were identified. At BHH, patients were discharged to primary care follow-up, whilst QEH patients remained under haematology for follow-up. Evidence of disease progression, need for treatment and overall mortality was documented.

Two hundred and forty-six Stage A0 CLL patients were identified. One hundred and five (43%) patients were discharged to primary care, whilst 141 (57%) patients were followed up in haematology outpatient clinics. No difference in mortality or need for treatment was found between the two groups. Of those discharged, 93 (66%) remained in primary care.

The management of stable-stage A0 CLL within primary or secondary care leads to equivalent clinical outcomes. The prevalence of early-stage CLL is expected to increase with the ageing population and management within primary care should be considered as a potentially effective approach.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)789-794
Number of pages6
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 31 Jan 2015