Information for Patients
Chronic Myeloid Leukemia
Also called: CML, Chronic granulocytic leukemia, Chronic myelogenous leukemia
Leukemia is cancer of the white blood cells. White blood cells help your body fight infection. Your blood cells form in your bone marrow. In leukemia, the bone marrow produces abnormal white blood cells. These cells crowd out the healthy blood cells, making it hard for blood to do its work. In chronic myeloid leukemia (CML), there are too many granulocytes, a type of white blood cell.
Most people with CML have a gene mutation (change) called the Philadelphia chromosome.
Sometimes CML does not cause any symptoms. If you have symptoms, they may include:
- Weight loss
- Night sweats
- Pain or a feeling of fullness below the ribs on the left side
Tests that examine the blood and bone marrow diagnose CML. Treatments include chemotherapy, stem cell transplants, infusion of donated white blood cells following stem cell transplants, surgery to remove the spleen, and biologic and targeted therapies. Biologic therapy boosts your body's own ability to fight cancer. Targeted therapy uses substances that attack cancer cells without harming normal cells.
NIH: National Cancer Institute
- After chemotherapy - discharge (Medical Encyclopedia)
- Bone marrow transplant (Medical Encyclopedia)
- Bone marrow transplant - discharge (Medical Encyclopedia)
- Chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML) (Medical Encyclopedia)
Chronic myeloid leukemia Chronic myeloid leukemia is a slow-growing cancer of the blood-forming tissue (bone marrow). Normal bone marrow produces red blood cells (erythrocytes) that carry oxygen, white blood cells (leukocytes) that protect the body from infection, and platelets (thrombocytes) that are involved in blood clotting. In chronic myeloid leukemia, the bone marrow produces too many white blood cells. Initially, these cells function relatively normally. However, as the condition progresses, immature white blood cells called myeloblasts (or blasts) accumulate in the blood and bone marrow. The overgrowth of myeloblasts impairs development of other blood cells, leading to a shortage of red blood cells (anemia) and platelets.Chronic myeloid leukemia usually begins after age 60. Common features include excessive tiredness (fatigue), fever, and weight loss. Many affected individuals develop an enlarged spleen (splenomegaly), which can cause a feeling of fullness in the abdomen and a loss of appetite. About half of people with chronic myeloid leukemia do not initially have any signs and symptoms and are diagnosed when a blood test is performed for another reason.The condition consists of three phases: the chronic phase, the accelerated phase, and the blast phase (or blast crisis). In the chronic phase, the number of mature white blood cells is elevated, and myeloblasts account for less than 10 percent of blood cells. Signs and symptoms of the condition during this phase are typically mild or absent and worsen slowly. The chronic phase can last from months to years. In the accelerated phase, the number of myeloblasts is slightly higher, making up 10 to 29 percent of blood cells. The signs and symptoms continue to worsen. The accelerated phase usually lasts 4 to 6 months, although it is skipped in some affected individuals. In blast crisis, 30 percent or more of blood or bone marrow cells are myeloblasts. Signs and symptoms are most severe in this phase, including a massively enlarged spleen, bone pain, and weight loss. Serious infections and uncontrolled bleeding can be life-threatening.