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Cancer Health Center

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Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia Treatment (PDQ®): Treatment - Health Professional Information [NCI] - Stage Information for Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia (CML)


Studies have suggested that certain presenting features have prognostic significance. The following are predictive of a shorter chronic phase:

  • Increased splenomegaly.
  • Older age.
  • Male gender.
  • Elevated serum lactate dehydrogenase.
  • Cytogenetic abnormalities in addition to the Ph1.[4]
  • A higher proportion of marrow or peripheral blood blasts.
  • Basophilia.
  • Eosinophilia.
  • Thrombocytosis.
  • Anemia.

Predictive models using multivariate analysis have been derived.[2,3,5,6,7,8]

Chronic-phase CML

Chronic-phase CML is characterized by bone marrow and cytogenetic findings as described above with less than 10% blasts and promyelocytes in the peripheral blood and bone marrow.[9]

Accelerated-phase CML

Accelerated-phase CML is characterized by 10% to 19% blasts in either the peripheral blood or bone marrow.[9]

Blastic-phase CML

Blastic-phase CML is characterized by 20% or more blasts in the peripheral blood or bone marrow.

When 20% or more blasts are present in the face of fever, malaise, and progressive splenomegaly, the patient has entered blast crisis.[9]

Relapsing CML

Relapsed CML is characterized by any evidence of progression of disease from a stable remission. This may include the following:

  • Increasing myeloid or blast cells in the peripheral blood or bone marrow.
  • Cytogenetic positivity when previously cytogenetic-negative.
  • FISH positivity for BCR/ABL (breakpoint cluster region/Abelson) translocation when previously FISH-negative.

Detection of the BCR/ABL translocation by RT-PCR during prolonged remissions does not constitute relapse on its own. However, exponential drops in quantitative RT-PCR measurements for 3 to 12 months correlates with the degree of cytogenetic response, just as exponential rises may be associated with quantitative RT-PCR measurements that are closely connected with clinical relapse.[10]


  1. Jabbour E, Kantarjian H: Chronic myeloid leukemia: 2012 update on diagnosis, monitoring, and management. Am J Hematol 87 (11): 1037-45, 2012.
  2. Sokal JE, Cox EB, Baccarani M, et al.: Prognostic discrimination in "good-risk" chronic granulocytic leukemia. Blood 63 (4): 789-99, 1984.
  3. Sokal JE, Baccarani M, Russo D, et al.: Staging and prognosis in chronic myelogenous leukemia. Semin Hematol 25 (1): 49-61, 1988.
  4. Fabarius A, Leitner A, Hochhaus A, et al.: Impact of additional cytogenetic aberrations at diagnosis on prognosis of CML: long-term observation of 1151 patients from the randomized CML Study IV. Blood 118 (26): 6760-8, 2011.
  5. Kantarjian HM, Smith TL, McCredie KB, et al.: Chronic myelogenous leukemia: a multivariate analysis of the associations of patient characteristics and therapy with survival. Blood 66 (6): 1326-35, 1985.
  6. Sacchi S, Kantarjian HM, Smith TL, et al.: Early treatment decisions with interferon-alfa therapy in early chronic-phase chronic myelogenous leukemia. J Clin Oncol 16 (3): 882-9, 1998.
  7. Hasford J, Pfirrmann M, Hehlmann R, et al.: A new prognostic score for survival of patients with chronic myeloid leukemia treated with interferon alfa. Writing Committee for the Collaborative CML Prognostic Factors Project Group. J Natl Cancer Inst 90 (11): 850-8, 1998.
  8. Kvasnicka HM, Thiele J, Schmitt-Graeff A, et al.: Bone marrow features improve prognostic efficiency in multivariate risk classification of chronic-phase Ph(1+) chronic myelogenous leukemia: a multicenter trial. J Clin Oncol 19 (12): 2994-3009, 2001.
  9. Cortes JE, Talpaz M, O'Brien S, et al.: Staging of chronic myeloid leukemia in the imatinib era: an evaluation of the World Health Organization proposal. Cancer 106 (6): 1306-15, 2006.
  10. Martinelli G, Iacobucci I, Rosti G, et al.: Prediction of response to imatinib by prospective quantitation of BCR-ABL transcript in late chronic phase chronic myeloid leukemia patients. Ann Oncol 17 (3): 495-502, 2006.

This information is produced and provided by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National Cancer Institute via the Internet web site at http:// cancer .gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.

WebMD Public Information from the National Cancer Institute

Last Updated: May 28, 2015
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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