B-cell chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) and other associated B-cell lymphoproliferative disorders (LPDs; i.e., lymphomas and Hodgkin's disease) have not been thought of until recently as having an inherited genetic component. By contrast, it has long been recognized that a small number of acute leukemia cases occur at a higher frequency in individuals with genetic disease, such as Down syndrome and other constitutional chromosome anomalies as well as some mendelian cancer syndromes (e.g., Li-Fraumeni syndrome).

There is now, however, increasing evidence strongly implicating inherited genetic factors in a subset of CLL patients. Identification of CLL predisposition genes should be useful for diagnosis and could also serve as a model for CLL tumorigenesis.

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