Skip to Content

View Additional Content In This Section

Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia

National Organization for Rare Disorders, Inc.

Important
It is possible that the main title of the report Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia is not the name you expected. Please check the synonyms listing to find the alternate name(s) and disorder subdivision(s) covered by this report.

Synonyms

  • CGL
  • GML
  • chronic granulocytic leukemia
  • chronic myelocytic leukemia
  • chronic myeloid leukemia

Disorder Subdivisions

  • None

General Discussion

Summary
Chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML) accounts of about 20% of all leukemias affecting adults. It typically affects middle-aged individuals and rarely adolescents or children. CML is a slowly progressing blood and bone marrow disorder, characterized by the excessive development of white blood cells in the spongy tissue found inside large bones of the body (bone marrow), spleen, liver and blood. As the disease progresses, the leukemic (blast) cells invade other areas of the body including the intestinal tract, kidneys, lungs, gonads and lymph nodes. These diseased cells do not grow old and eventually die like normal cells. They build up in huge numbers, overwhelm healthy blood cells and damage the bone marrow.

Since CML progresses slowly, many people are first diagnosed during routine blood exams before they even show symptoms. There is no cure for CML because it is not possible to eliminate all of the diseased cells in the body, however, there are many approved treatments that can achieve a long-term remission. Patients respond best to treatment when CML is in its earliest stage, so it is important to diagnose the disease as early as possible. Possible symptoms that may indicate CML are fever, night sweats, fatigue, pain below the ribs on the left side, and inexplicable weight loss. If an individual is experiencing any of the above symptoms or other signs, it is important they make an appointment with their doctor to be tested for CML.

Introduction
There are three phases of chronic myelogenous leukemia. The first phase, or the chronic phase, is characterized by a slow, progressive overproduction of white blood cells. In chronic CML, fewer than 10% of the cells in the blood and bone marrow are blast (leukemic) cells. Patients in this phase have the best response to treatment. The next phase is transitional, and is called the accelerated phase, which occurs when 10%-19% of the cells are blast cells. The most advanced phase is the blastic phase. At this point, over 20% of the blood cells are blast cells). In the blastic phase, the leukemia is very aggressive and does not respond well to therapy. Approximately 85% of all individuals with chronic myelogenous leukemia enter this phase.

Resources

Leukemia & Lymphoma Society
1311 Mamaroneck Avenue
Suite 310
New York, NY 10605
Tel: (914)949-5213
Fax: (914)949-6691
Tel: (800)955-4572
Email: infocenter@LLS.org
Internet: http://www.LLS.org

American Cancer Society, Inc.
250 Williams NW St
Ste 6000
Atlanta, GA 30303
USA
Tel: (404)320-3333
Tel: (800)227-2345
TDD: (866)228-4327
Internet: http://www.cancer.org

National Cancer Institute
6116 Executive Blvd Suite 300
Bethesda, MD 20892-8322
USA
Tel: (301)435-3848
Tel: (800)422-6237
TDD: (800)332-8615
Email: cancergovstaff@mail.nih.gov
Internet: http://www.cancer.gov

Center for International Blood and Marrow Transplant Research
Froedtert and the Medical College of Wisconsin Clinical Cancer Center
9200 W. Wisconsin Avenue
Milwaukee, WI 53226
Tel: (414)805-0700
Fax: (414)805-0714
Email: contactus@cibmtr.org
Internet: http://www.cibmtr.org/

OncoLink: The University of Pennsylvania Cancer Center Resource
3400 Spruce Street
2 Donner
Philadelphia, PA 19104-4283
USA
Tel: (215)349-8895
Fax: (215)349-5445
Email: hampshire@uphs.upenn.edu
Internet: http://www.oncolink.upenn.edu

Children's Leukemia Research Association
585 Stewart Avenue, Suite 18
Garden City, NY 11530
Tel: (516)222-1944
Fax: (516)222-0457
Email: info@childrensleukemia.org
Internet: http://www.childrensleukemia.org

Cancer Research UK
Angel Building
407 St John Street
London, EC1V 4AD
United Kingdom
Tel: 020 7242 0200
Fax: 02071216700
Email: cancerhelpuk@cancer.org.uk
Internet: http://www.cancerresearchuk.org/cancer-help/

Rare Cancer Alliance
1649 North Pacana Way
Green Valley, AZ 85614
USA
Internet: http://www.rare-cancer.org

MUMS National Parent-to-Parent Network
150 Custer Court
Green Bay, WI 54301-1243
USA
Email: mums@netnet.net
Internet: http://www.netnet.net/mums/

Genetic and Rare Diseases (GARD) Information Center
PO Box 8126
Gaithersburg, MD 20898-8126
Tel: (301)251-4925
Fax: (301)251-4911
Tel: (888)205-2311
TDD: (888)205-3223
Internet: http://rarediseases.info.nih.gov/GARD/

CMPD Education Foundation
P.O. Box 4758
Scottsdale, AZ 85261
Email: ian.sweet@homemail.com.au
Internet: http://www.mpdinfo.org/CMPD_foundation.html

Friends of Cancer Research
1800 M Street NW
Suite 1050 South
Washington, DC 22202
Tel: (202)944-6700
Email: info@focr.org
Internet: http://www.focr.org

Cancer Support Community
1050 17th St NW Suite 500
Washington, DC 20036
Tel: (202)659-9709
Fax: (202)974-7999
Tel: (888)793-9355
Internet: http://www.cancersupportcommunity.org/

Lance Armstrong Foundation
2201 E. Sixth Street
Austin, TX 78702
Tel: (512)236-8820
Fax: (512)236-8482
Tel: (877)236-8820
Email: media@livestrong.org
Internet: http://www.livestrong.org

Myeloproliferative Disease Support and Daily Email Digest
2011 Flagler Ave.
Key West, FL 33040
USA
Tel: (305)295-4444
Email: roberttollen@gmail.com
Internet: http://www.mpdsupport.org/

For a Complete Report

This is an abstract of a report from the National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD). A copy of the complete report can be downloaded free from the NORD website for registered users. The complete report contains additional information including symptoms, causes, affected population, related disorders, standard and investigational therapies (if available), and references from medical literature. For a full-text version of this topic, go to www.rarediseases.org and click on Rare Disease Database under "Rare Disease Information".

The information provided in this report is not intended for diagnostic purposes. It is provided for informational purposes only. NORD recommends that affected individuals seek the advice or counsel of their own personal physicians.

It is possible that the title of this topic is not the name you selected. Please check the Synonyms listing to find the alternate name(s) and Disorder Subdivision(s) covered by this report

This disease entry is based upon medical information available through the date at the end of the topic. Since NORD's resources are limited, it is not possible to keep every entry in the Rare Disease Database completely current and accurate. Please check with the agencies listed in the Resources section for the most current information about this disorder.

For additional information and assistance about rare disorders, please contact the National Organization for Rare Disorders at P.O. Box 1968, Danbury, CT 06813-1968; phone (203) 744-0100; web site www.rarediseases.org or email orphan@rarediseases.org

Last Updated:  11/5/2012
Copyright  1989, 1990, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2003, 2006, 2012 National Organization for Rare Disorders, Inc.

This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information. Your use of this information means that you agree to the Terms of Use. How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.

Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.

2650 Siskiyou Blvd., Medford, OR 97504

541-789-7000