Recent approvals of several oral targeted agents have revolutionized chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) therapy. However, CLL patients continue to progress; particularly, 4% to 20% of previously treated CLL patients undergo transformation into high-grade lymphoma. Richter transformation is defined as a transformation of CLL into aggressive lymphoma, most commonly diffuse large B-cell lymphoma. These patients typically have poor response to traditional chemotherapy used to treat de novo diffuse large B-cell lymphoma and similar or shorter overall survival (median 3-11 months) in the era of novel agents. Here, I review the contemporary literature on Richter transformation, particularly in the context of novel agents used in CLL, and discuss the management approach for these patients.
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