Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia (CML)

What is CML?


  • CML is an uncommon type of cancer of the blood cells. This type of cancer tends to progress more slowly than acute forms of leukemia and affects certain blood-forming cells in the bone marrow. In CML, a genetic change takes place in an early (immature) version of the myeloid cells (the cells that makes red blood cells, platelets, and most types of white blood cells (except lymphocytes)).



Who is impacted?


  • CML occurs when something abnormal occurs in the genes of blood cells by:
    • An abnormal chromosome develops
    • The abnormal chromosome creates a new gene
    • The new gene allows too many diseased blood cells
  • Some factors that increase risk of developing CML:
    • Older age
    • Being male
    • Radiation exposure
  • This is one of the rarest cancers where family history is not a risk factor.



How is CML diagnosed?


  • A diagnosis of CML is determined by one or more of the following:
    • Physical exam
    • Blood tests
    • Bone marrow tests
    • Tests to look for the philadelphia chromosome


How is CML treated?


  • Goal of treatment is to eliminate the blood cells that contain the abnormal gene causing the overabundance of diseased blood cells.
  • Treatment is done through
    • Targeted drugs such as:
      • Imatinib (Gleevec)
      • Dasatinib (Sprycel)
      • Nilotinib (Tasigna)
      • Bosutinib (Bosulif)
      • Ponatinib (Iclusig)
    • Blood stem cell transplant
    • Chemotherapy
    • Biological therapy