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Blood cancer

We are leading the transformation of care for patients with blood cancer.

Blood cancer

Jump to section: Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia - Acute Myeloid Leukemia - Other blood cancers

AbbVie is committed to transforming standards of care in the treatment and management of blood cancers with significant unmet needs, enabling patients to live longer without disease progression.

Leading science

All cells, including cancer cells, undergo a natural, controlled process known as apoptosis or regulated cell death. In some blood cancers, certain proteins build up and prevent cancer cells from undergoing apoptosis.

An enzyme called Bruton’s tyrosine kinase, or BTK, is abnormally activated in some blood cancers, causing B cells (white blood cells whose primary role is to produce antibodies) to grow uncontrollably and crowd out normal cells.  We are leaders in the research and development of targeted medicines that inhibit the reproduction of cancer cells (B-cell signaling) or enable their death (regulated cell death or apoptosis). 

Learn more about our key areas of biology.

Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia (CLL)

CLL is a slow-growing type of blood cancer in which the bone marrow makes too many lymphocytes, a type of white blood cell.1

CLL is one of the most common types of chronic leukemia in adults.1

CLL at a glance:

  • In 2020, an estimated 21,040 new cases of CLL will be diagnosed and 4,060 people will die from the disease in the United States.2
  • Patients treated for CLL may have extremely low levels of remaining CLL cells not detected by clinical tests, which is known as minimal residual disease (MRD) negativity.3

Possibilities in CLL care

The evolution of care for CLL patients spotlights significant achievements and advancements.

See the story

Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML)

AML is one of the most aggressive and difficult-to-treat blood cancers with a very low survival rate4,5, and few treatment options for patients who are not eligible to receive intensive chemotherapy.

AML at a glance:

  • AML is the most common acute leukemia in adults.7
  • Only approximately 28% of patients survive five years or more after diagnosis with AML.8
  • Patients who are not able to tolerate the standard of care intensive chemotherapy may have a median survival of only 6-10 months.9

A physician’s view: Facing the challenges of treating AML in
older adults

Why are the odds stacked against the older population when it comes to this pervasive aggressor?

See the story

Other blood cancers

A deep understanding of current treatment challenges for people affected by blood cancers drives us to deliver meaningful advances to improve standards of care.

Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL)
ALL occurs when too many early or immature forms of lymphocytes, a type of white blood cell, are made by the bone marrow. It is the most common type of cancer in children.10

Diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL)
DLBCL is the most common type of non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) in the U.S. and worldwide. The occurrence of DLBCL generally increases with age, with most patients diagnosed over 60.11

Mantle Cell Lymphoma (MCL)
MCL is typically an aggressive form of NHL that arises from cells originating in the outer edge of the lymph nodes called the mantle zone.   In the U.S., MCL accounts for approximately six percent of all NHL cases.12

Multiple Myeloma (MM)
MM is a cancer of plasma cells, often categorized by recurring cycles of relapse and remission. It is the second most common blood cancer.13,14

Myelodysplastic Syndromes (MDS)
MDS are a group of blood disorders characterized by abnormal development of blood cells within the bone marrow. These disorders are considered a type of cancer.15

Myelofibrosis (MF)
MF is a rare disorder in which abnormal blood cells and fibrous tissue build up in the bone marrow.16


1]American Cancer Society. Leukemia – Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia. Accessed October 2020.
[2]National Cancer Institute. Cancer Stat Facts: Leukemia - Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia (CLL). Accessed October 2020.
[3] Hallek M, et al. Guidelines for diagnosis, indications for treatment, response assessment and supportive management of chronic lymphocytic leukemia. Blood. 2018;131(25):2745-2760.
[4] Döhner H, et al. Acute myeloid leukemia. N Engl J Med. 2015;373(12):1136-1152. 
[5] American Cancer Society (2018). Typical Treatment of Most Types of Acute Myeloid Leukemia (Except Acute Promyelocytic M3). 
[6] Global Burden of Disease Cancer Collaboration, Fitzmaurice C, Allen C, Barber RM, et al. Global, regional, and national cancer incidence, mortality, years of life lost, years lived with disability, and disability-adjusted life-years for 32 cancer groups, 1990 to 2015: A systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study. JAMA Oncol. 2017;3(4):524-548.
[7] National Cancer Institute. Adult Acute Myeloid Leukemia (PDQ®)- Patient Version. Accessed October 2020.
[8] National Cancer Institute. Cancer Stat Facts: Leukemia- Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML).
[9] Oran, B and Weisdorf. Survival for older patients with acute myeloid leukemia: a population-based study. Haematologica. 2012; 97(12): 1916-1924. 
[10] National Cancer Institute. Childhood Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia Treatment (PDQ®)- Patient Version. Accessed October 2020. 
[11] Lymphoma Research Foundation. About Lymphoma- Diffuse Large B-Cell Lymphoma. Accessed October 2020.
[12] Lymphoma Research Foundation. About Lymphoma - Mantle Cell Lymphoma. Accessed October 2020.
[13] Concise Review of the Disease and Treatment Options. Retrieved from: Accessed October 2020.  
[14] Cancer.Net. Multiple Myeloma: Statistics. Accessed October 2020.
[15]American Cancer Society. What Are Myelodysplastic Syndromes. Accessed October 2020.
[16] Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. Myelofibrosis. Accessed October 2020.