CML; Chronic granulocytic leukemia; Leukemia – chronic granulocytic (CML)
Definition of Chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML)
Chronic myelogenous leukemia is cancer that starts inside bone marrow, the soft tissue inside bones that helps form blood cells. The cancer grows from cells that produce white blood cells.
Causes, incidence, and risk factors
CML most often occurs in middle-aged adults and in children. The disease affects 1 to 2 people per 100,000 and makes up 7 – 20% cases of leukemia.
CML causes rapid growth of the immature blood-forming cells (myeloid precursors) in the bone marrow, blood, and body tissues.
Signs and tests
A physical examination often reveals a swollen spleen. A complete blood count (CBC) shows an increased number of white blood cells.
Imatinib (Gleevec) is the first-line therapy for everyone with CML. Gleevec is a pill, taken by mouth. It is associated with very high rates of remission and survival. New medications similiar to Gleevec include dasatinib (Sprycel) and nilotinib (Tasigna).
Since the introduction of Gleevec, the outlook for patients with CML has improved dramatically. When the signs and symptoms of CML go away, you are said to be in remission. Many patients can remain in remission for many years while on this drug.
David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine; Yi-Bin Chen, MD, Leukemia/Bone Marrow Transplant Program, Massachusetts General Hospital. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc. – 3/2/2010