Even in the era of newer and sophisticated prognostic markers, beta2-microglobulin (B2M) remains a simple but very powerful predictor of treatment-free survival (TFS) and overall survival (OS) in patients with chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (CLL). However, B2M levels are heavily influenced by the patient's glomerular filtration rate (GFR) and this study aimed to evaluate whether GFR-adjusted B2M (GFR-B2M) had improved prognostic value compared to unadjusted B2M in a cohort of over 450 consecutive CLL patients from two separate institutions. Multivariate analysis identified a significantly shorter TFS in patients who were ZAP-70 + (P < 0·001), with increased GFR-B2M (P < 0·001), and del(11q) or del(17p) as detected by fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH; P < 0·001). When OS was evaluated by multivariate analysis, age 65 years or older (P < 0·001) and poor risk FISH abnormalities (P < 0·001) had a confirmed adverse prognostic impact, but the predictive value of GFR-B2M was lost in the validation analysis. In all survival models, B2M did not attain independent significance unless GFR-B2M was eliminated from the analysis. In conclusion, GFR-B2M is a better predictor of TFS than unadjusted B2M in CLL patients.