Blood cancer

Our team of oncology experts aspire to make a remarkable impact on people affected by cancer.

Blood cancer

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

AbbVie is a leader in the transformation of care for patients with blood cancers, also known as hematologic malignancies. We are striving to advance standards of care and bring transformative treatment options to patients and their health care providers.

Our deep understanding of current treatment challenges for patients with hematologic malignancies drives us to continually look for ways to deliver clinically meaningful advancements. By applying our expertise in key areas of biology like apoptosis, we are working to advance research of potential new treatments and novel combinations.

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. It is the most common type of leukemia found in adults.1

AbbVie is researching regulated cell death, a natural process that eliminates damaged, unneeded or dangerous cells from the body, and apoptosis is a form of this process. One of the hallmarks of human cancers – including CLL and other blood cancers - is the intrinsic or acquired resistance to apoptosis.

Learn more about our key areas of biology here.

CLL at a glance:

  • Five-year survival was 83.2% among patients diagnosed with CLL from 2007 to 2013.3
  • An estimated 191,000 persons globally were diagnosed with CLL during 2015, and 61,000 persons died from the disease.4
  • Newly diagnosed later-stage disease and relapsed/refractory (R/R) CLL have historically been difficult to treat.5,6

Seeking a missing acronym in CLL

As our ability to detect smaller amounts of cancer increases, so does the hope for a better future for CLL patients.

See the story

Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML)

AML is a rapidly progressing cancer of the blood and bone marrow. It is the most common acute leukemia in adults.7

We’re applying our expertise in blood cancers to advance research of ways to inhibit the replication of cancer cells or enable their death.

Learn more about our key areas of biology here.

AML at a glance:

  • The median age of diagnosis is 689,  and the disease biology worsens as people age.
  • The standard of care for AML has not changed significantly in the past 40 years.10
  • Older patients are more likely to be ineligible for intensive chemotherapy.11
  • AbbVie is conducting research to help address the unmet need in this older patient population.

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

Multiple Myeloma (MM)

MM is a cancer of plasma cells that is often characterized by recurring cycles of relapse and remission.12

AbbVie is committed to meaningfully advancing the understanding of MM and identifying scientific approaches that have the potential to improve care for patients with MM, including the role of genetic mutations.

MM at a glance:

  • Despite the availability of MM therapies, there is no optimal treatment sequence, and MM eventually develops treatment resistance followed by poor outcomes. Each subsequent remission from MM is typically shorter than the previous one.14
  • MM is the second most common blood cancer15 with a mean life expectancy of five to six years.16
  • MM is most frequently diagnosed among people aged 65 to 74 years.12

We continue to drive innovation in the treatment and management of blood cancers by investigating medicines across multiple blood cancers.


Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma (NHL)

NHL occurs when cancer cells form in the lymph system.17 There are over 60 subtypes of NHL identified by the World Health Organization.18

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.19

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.20 

Diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL)
DLBCL is the most common type of NHL in the U.S. and worldwide. The occurrence of DLBCL generally increases with age, with most patients diagnosed over age 60.21

[1] American Cancer Society, Leukemia – Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia. https://www.cancer.org/cancer/chronic-lymphocytic-leukemia/about/what-is-cll.html. Accessed January 2019
[2] 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.
[3] Howlader N, Noone AM, Krapcho M, et al (eds). SEER Cancer Statistics Review, 1975-2012. National Cancer Institute. Bethesda, MD, http://seer.cancer.gov/csr/1975_2012/, based on November 2014 SEER data submission, posted to the SEER web site, April 2015.
[4] 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.
[5] Hallek M, Cheson BD, Catovsky D, et al. Guidelines for the diagnosis and treatment of chronic lymphocytic leukemia: a report from the International Workshop on Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia updating the National Cancer Institute–Working Group 1996 guidelines. Blood. 2008;111(12):5446- 5456.
[6] Hallek A. Chronic lymphocytic leukemia: 2015 update on diagnosis, risk stratification, and treatment. Am J Hematol. 2015;90(5):446-460.
[7] National Cancer Institute. Adult Acute Myeloid Leukemia (PDQ®)- Patient Version. https://www.cancer.gov/types/leukemia/patient/adult-aml-treatment-pdq . Accessed January 2019.
[8]  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.
[9] Howlader N, Noone AM, Krapcho M, et al. (eds). SEER Cancer Statistics Review, 1975-2014. Bethesda, MD: National Cancer Institute. https://seer.cancer.gov/statfacts/html/amyl.html. Published November 2016; updated April 2017. Accessed March 2019.
[10] Cassier PA, Castets M, Belhabri A, Vey N. Targeting apoptosis in acute myeloid leukaemia. Br J Cancer. 2017;117(8):1089-1098. Kavanagh S, Murphy T, Law A, et al. Emerging therapies for acute myeloid leukemia: translating biology into the clinic. JCI Insight. 2017 Sep 21;2(18). [Epub ahead of print]
[11]Almeida AM, Ramos F. Acute myeloid leukemia in the older adults. Leuk Res Rep. 2016;6:1-7.
[12]Myeloma.org. Consie Review of the Disease and Treatment Options. Retrieved from: https://www.myeloma.org/sites/default/files/images/publications/UnderstandingPDF/concisereview.pdf. Accessed January 2019.  
[13]Howlader N, Noone AM, Krapcho M, et al (eds). SEER Cancer Statistics Review, 1975-2012. National Cancer Institute. Bethesda, MD, http://seer.cancer.gov/csr/1975_2012/, based on November 2014 SEER data submission, posted to the SEER web site, April 2015.
[14]Rajkumar SV, Kumar S. Multiple myeloma: diagnosis and treatment. Mayo Clin Proc. 2016;91(1):101-119.
[15]Cancer.Net. Multiple Myeloma: Statistics. https://www.cancer.net/cancer-types/multiple-myeloma/statistics. Accessed March 26, 2019.
[16]Al-Farsi, Khalil. Multiple Myeloma: An Update. Oman Medical Journal. 2013;28(1):3-11.