Large Granular Lymphocyte Leukemia

Patient Assistance Programs for Large Granular Lymphocyte Leukemia - ASP Health

Large Granular Lymphocyte Leukemia

In large granular lymphocyte leukemia, the number of large granular lymphocytes in the peripheral blood increases over time. In LGLL, however, large granular lymphocytes do not die off as expected, as they should alongside skin cells, liver cells, and immune cells. LGLL progresses slowly and leads to infection, anemia, and easy bleeding.

Usually, when someone has a viral infection, a specific type of white blood cell (usually a T-cell) gets activated and replicates itself to fight the virus. When a T-cell successfully combats a virus, it dies off so that other blood cells can take their place in the body, which stops the release of the inflammatory signals and the body gets back to a healthy state. In LGLL, however, these T-cells never die, and inflammatory signals continue to be released, even if a virus is not present. The leukemic blood cells accumulate, leaving less room for healthy ones.


Signs and Symptoms

The symptoms of patients with LGLL include changes in neutrophils, red blood cells, and platelets. Changes in neutrophils are the most common type of blood formation abnormality followed by changes in red blood cells. Changes in platelets are the least common, and patients can also have a combination of these three types of changes.

Life expectancy after diagnosis is 10 years, according to studies. The exact cause of LGLL is still unknown. Ongoing research found that LGLL can be developed following exposure to foreign antigens. The progression is believed to happen as a result of a viral infection. It usually occurs in older people.


There is no exact cause of LGL leukemia. Researchers in the Loughran Lab at the University of Virginia suspect LGLL develops following exposure to foreign antigens, possibly caused by a viral infection.

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