Chronic Myeloid Leukemia is a type of cancer that starts in certain cells that produce blood from the bone marrow. a genetic change occurs in an early (immature) version of myeloid cells (cells that produce red blood cells, platelets, and most types of white blood cells). this change is due to an abnormal gene called bcr-abl, which converts the cell into a leukemic cell .the leukemic cells grows and divides, accumulates in the bone marrow and spreads to the blood. during this time, the cells can also invade another parts of the body, including the spleen.

They are often imprecise:

  • Weakness.
  • Fatigue.
  • Night sweats.
  • Weightloss.
  • Fever.
  • Bone pain.
  • Enlargement of the spleen.
  • Many of the signs and symptoms of CML occur because the leukemia cells replace the normal blood-producing cells of the bone marrow.
  • Anemia is a lack of red blood cells. It can cause fatigue, weakness and difficulty breathing.
  • Leukopenia is a decrease in normal white blood cells. This decrease increases the risk of infections.
  • Neutropenia means that the number of neutrophils is low. Neutrophils, a type of white blood cell, are very important to fight bacterial infections.
  • Thrombocytopenia is a decrease in blood platelets. May cause bruising and excessive bleeding.

The only risk factors for CML are:

  • Exposure to radiation: Exposure to high doses of radiation (such as being a survivor of an atomic bomb explosion or a nuclear reactor accident) increases the risk of CML.
  • Age: the risk of CML increases with age.

Genetic testing will be performed to determine if the Philadelphia chromosome and / or the BCR-ABL gene is present. This type of test is used to confirm the diagnosis of CML.

  • Conventional cytogenetics: this test involves observing chromosomes (sections of DNA) with a microscope to detect any changes. This is also known as karyology.
  • In situ hybridization with fluorescence: in situ hybridization with fluorescence (fluorescent in situ hybridization, FISH) is another way to observe chromosomes. This test uses special fluorescent dyes that only adhere to certain genes or parts of the chromosomes. In CML, the FISH test can be used to look at specific sections of the BCR-ABL gene in the chromosomes.
  • Polymerase chain reaction (PCR): can be used to identify the BCR-ABL oncogene in leukemia cells. blood or bone marrow samples can detect very small amounts of BCR-ABL.

The first treatment for CML is:

  • Oral medications that reach the abnormal protein formed by the Philadelphia chromosome.
  • If the white blood cell count is too high at the time of diagnosis, sometimes chemotherapy will be used as a first option.

The only known cure for chronic myeloid leukemia is a bone marrow transplant or a stem cell transplant. However, most patients do not need a transplant because the drugs that attack the disease are effective.

There is no known way to prevent most cases of chronic myeloid leukemia. The only risk factor for chronic myeloid leukemia that can potentially be avoided is exposure to high doses of radiation, which only occurs in a few patients.