Clinical Trials for Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia

Medically Reviewed by Dany Paul Baby, MD on April 19, 2022

When you talk about your treatment for chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML) with your doctor, you can also ask them if you should join a clinical trial. It's a type of research study that checks if a new drug is safe and works better than meds that are used now.

Clinical trials may test a new treatment to see if it:

  • Prevents symptoms
  • Keeps CML from returning
  • Helps people who have had poor results from standard treatments

What Are the Benefits?

A clinical trial may offer you new treatment options that improve your quality of life or let you live longer. It follows strict safety guidelines.

If researchers show that the treatment works well and is safe, the FDA may approve it so that it's available to other people.

There is typically no cost to participate, and you'll get the experimental drug or procedure free of charge.

What Are the Downsides?

There are no guarantees. Even if other people benefit, the treatment may not work for you.

Other concerns include:

  • Side effects or complications
  • You may need to travel to take part.
  • You may not know the type of treatment you get, but researchers will tell you the trial is set up this way before you join.

Who Can Take Part?

Researchers decide who can safely join their clinical trial. They take into account things like:

  • How old you are
  • The phase of your CML
  • Treatments you're taking or have taken
  • Other illnesses or conditions

You often need to try standard treatments first, but that doesn't mean that all clinical trials are just for advanced disease.

Should You Join?

It's not an easy decision. You might consider a clinical trial if the treatment you get now isn't working, or because you need relief from symptoms or complications.

Be sure you have realistic expectations about a clinical trial and that you understand the pros and cons.

Your doctor can help you work out the pros and cons. They may be able to refer you to some trials. Ask about other treatment options to try first.

Then ask yourself these questions:

  • How will my daily life be affected?
  • Am I well enough to take part?
  • Are time and money likely to be a problem?

Where to Learn More About CML Clinical Trials

Here are some resources to help you learn more:

Show Sources


American Cancer Society: "Detailed Guide: Leukemia - Chronic Myeloid (CML) Clinical Trials," "Clinical Trials: What You Need to Know."

National Cancer Institute : "Treatment Option Overview."

CML Links: "Clinical Trials." 

© 2022 WebMD, LLC. All rights reserved. View privacy policy and trust info