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If you are experiencing any signs and symptoms of chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) your doctor should perform the following tests to confirm it is CLL. As well, the following tests will help identify the stage and type of the disease to help determine the best treatment plan for the patient.

Common Tests for CLL Patients

Diagnosis Tests 

Genetic Biomarkers 

Health History and Exam

Blood Tests 

  • Complete blood count (CBC) with differential
    • Looks at a sample of the patient's blood under a microscope to see if CLL cells are crowding out other types of blood cells (red blood cells, platelets, and other types of white blood cells). Read more about the CBC test for CLL patients here -  Tests for CLL Patients - Complete Blood Count (CBC)
  • Comprehensive Metabolic Panel (CMP)
    • A Comprehensive Metabolic Panel (CMP) is a blood test that CLL patients should receive which screens for multiple diseases. It tests for 14 chemicals to evaluate liver and kidney health, blood sugar levels, the acid and base balance of the blood, and the fluid/electrolyte balance. The information gained from the test helps influence treatment decisions for CLL patients and gives insight into the status of the disease. See here for more about the CMP Test 
  • Lactate Dehydrogenase (LDH)
    • Lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) is a protein that is in almost all cells. It can be released into the blood when a cell is damaged. A high level of LDH is an important sign of cell damage. CLL is typically slow growing. If the type of CLL is more fast-growing, there will often be higher amounts of LDH in the blood sample. If the LDH level is high, CLL treatment may be needed soon. See here for more about the LDH Test

Minimal Residual Disease Tests (MRD)

Tests that May be Useful for CLL Patients

Biopsy Tests

  • Bone marrow tests (aspiration and biopsy)
    • The majority of blood cells are created in the bone marrow. Looking at the bone marrow helps determine if the CLL cells are overcrowding other types of blood cells or if treatment is working and CLL cells are decreasing. For more information about bone marrow tests, see here - Tests for CLL Patients: Bone Marrow Aspiration & Biopsy
  • Lymph node biopsy

Blood Tests

  • Quantitative immunoglobulins - if immunoglobulin (antibody) levels are low, patients can qualify for an infusion of immunoglobulin to help boost their immune system (often referred to as IVIG). See here for more about IVIG for CLL patients
  • Reticulocyte count, haptoglobin, and direct antiglobulin (Coombs) test
  • Beta-2 microglobulin
  • Uric acid
  • Hepatitis B and hepatitis C test


Heart Test

  • Echocardiogram or MUGA scan if a patient is considering taking a BTK inhibitor

Fertility and Pregnancy

  • Fertility counseling 
  • Pregnancy test 

Need help finding a CLL specialist to make sure you are getting accurate care? Visit HealthTree's CLL Specialist Directory

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