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Chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML)

  • Definition

    Chronic myelogenous leukemia is cancer that starts inside bone marrow, the soft tissue inside bones that helps form blood cells. The cancer grows from cells that produce white blood cells.

    See also:

    • Acute myeloid leukemia (AML)
    • Chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL)
    • Leukemia

    Alternative Names

    CML; Chronic granulocytic leukemia; Leukemia - chronic granulocytic (CML)


    Causes, incidence, and risk factors

    CML most often occurs in middle-aged adults and in children. The disease affects 1 to 2 people per 100,000 and makes up 7 - 20% cases of leukemia.

    It is usually associated with a chromosome abnormality called the Philadelphia chromosome.

    Radiation increases the risk of developing CML. Exposure may occur from:

    • High-dose radiation treatments used in the past to treat thyroid cancer or Hodgkin’s lymphoma
    • Nuclear disaster

    It takes many years to develop leukemia from this cause. However, most people treated for cancer with radiation do not go on to develop leukemia, and most patients with CML have not been exposed to radiation.