What Is Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia?

Chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML) is a cancer of the blood in which too many granulocytes, a type of white blood cell, are produced in the bone marrow.

Normally, bone marrow cells mature into several different types of blood cells. CML affects the young blood cells (called blasts) that develop into a type of white blood cell (called granulocytes). The main function of granulocytes is to destroy bacteria. The blasts, which do not mature and become too numerous, remain in the bone marrow and blood.

Chronic myelogenous leukemia can occur over a period of months or years. A specific chromosome rearrangement is found in patients with CML. Part of chromosome #9 breaks off and attaches itself to chromosome #22, so that there is an exchange of genetic material between these two chromosomes. This rearrangement changes the position and functions of certain genes, which results in uncontrolled cell growth. Other chromosome abnormalities can also be present.

CML occurs mainly in adults and is rare in children. According to the American Cancer Society, of the 48,610 leukemia cases expected in 2013. CML will account for 5,920 of the chronic cases in 2013.

Prevention of chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML)

There are no known ways to prevent CML.

Clinical Trials

Cancer Center doctors are active in developing and testing new therapies for the treatment of CML. When appropriate, patients are invited to participate in studies to investigate the newest treatments as well as large-scale clinical trials for more established treatments.

Clinical trials are research studies that evaluate a new medical approach, device, drug, or other treatment. As a Stanford Health Care patient, you may have access to the latest, advanced clinical trials.

Open trials refer to studies currently accepting participants. Closed trials are not currently enrolling, but may open in the future.

Before beginning treatment, ask your doctor about any clinical trials you should consider. Learn more about clinical trials for cancer patients.

Clinical trial eligibility flowcharts

Eligibility flowcharts map clinical trials to specific types of cancers to determine if a participant is eligible for the particular clinical trial. View all hematology eligibility flowcharts at the Stanford Cancer Institute.

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