Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started
My Medicine

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Leukemia & Lymphoma

Font Size

What to Expect From CML Treatment: An Overview

Regular Testing

While you're taking TKIs, you’ll have regular blood tests, including:

  • A complete blood count to check white blood cells, red blood cells, and platelets
  • A blood cell exam to determine the percentage of abnormal blood cells
  • Cytogenetic analysis to check for the abnormal Philadelphia chromosome
  • Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test to look for the BCR-ABL gene

During the first 3 months, you'll likely have a complete round of blood tests every 2 weeks.

At 3 months, you’ll get a follow-up bone marrow study. After the third month, you'll have blood and bone marrow tests at least once every 6 months until you have a complete cytogenetic response.

Once you have a complete cytogenetic and molecular response, you'll get a PCR test every 3-6 months and cytogenetic testing once every year.

What if TKIs Don’t Work?

There are other CML treatment options:

  • Immunotherapy helps your immune system destroy the cancer. One example is a drug, interferon, that is injected daily.
  • Chemotherapy kills abnormal cells in the body, but it isn't as effective for CML as it is for other types of leukemia. It’s usually reserved for patients in blast crisis, a phase when infections and bleeding are common and can be life-threatening.

Allogeneic stem cell transplant is the only potential cure for CML. It replaces abnormal white blood cells with stem cells from a matched donor and results in healthy blood cells being made. But there are serious risks, including graft-versus-host disease, called GVHD. This happens when new stem cells attack the body.

Now that TKI drugs can turn CML into a chronic disease, stem cell transplants are reserved for people who aren't helped by TKIs, or people in crisis.

When CML Progresses

If other treatments don't work, experimental treatment may be an option. Researchers test new therapies in clinical trials, which could give you access to cutting-edge treatments not yet available to the general public. To find out more, talk to your doctor.

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Sujana Movva, MD on February 13, 2014
1 | 2

Today on WebMD

stem cells
What are they and why do we need them?
Lung cancer xray
See it in pictures, plus read the facts.
sauteed cherry tomatoes
Fight cancer one plate at a time.
Ovarian cancer illustration
Do you know the symptoms?
Vitamin D
New Treatments For Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma
Lifestyle Tips for Depression Slideshow
Pets Improve Your Health