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Home > Cancers We Treat > Hematologic Cancer > Leukemia > Chronic Myelomonocytic Leukemia (CMML Leukemia)

Chronic Myelomonocytic Leukemia (CMML Leukemia)

Definition

Chronic myelomonocytic leukemia is a disease in which too many myelocytes and monocytes (immature white blood cells) are made in the bone marrow.

In chronic myelomonocytic leukemia (CMML), the body tells too many blood stem cells to become two types of white blood cells called myelocytes and monocytes. Some of these blood stem cells never become mature white blood cells. These immature white blood cells are called blasts. Over time, the myelocytes, monocytes, and blasts crowd out the red blood cells and platelets in the bone marrow. When this happens, infection, anemia, or easy bleeding may occur.

Causes

Older age and being male increase the risk of chronic myelomonocytic leukemia.

Risk

Anything that increases your chance of getting a disease is called a risk factor. Possible risk factors for CMML include the following:

  • Older age
  • Being male
  • Being exposed to certain substances at work or in the environment
  • Being exposed to radiation
  • Past treatment with certain anticancer drugs

Symptoms

These and other signs and symptoms may be caused by CMML Leukemia or by other conditions:

  • Fever for no known reason
  • Infection
  • Feeling very tired
  • Weight loss for no known reason
  • Easy bruising or bleeding
  • Pain or a feeling of fullness below the ribs

Diagnosis

The following tests and procedures may be used:

  • Physical exam and history
  • Complete blood count (CBC) with differential
  • Peripheral blood smear
  • Blood chemistry studies
  • Bone marrow aspiration and biopsy

The following tests may be done on the sample of tissue that is removed:

  • Cytogenetic analysis 
  • Immunocytochemistry 

Treatment

Five types of standard treatment are used:

  • Chemotherapy
  • Other drug therapy
  • Stem cell transplant
  • Supportive care
  • Targeted therapy

 

National Cancer Institute: PDQ® Myelodysplastic/ Myeloproliferative Neoplasms Treatment. Bethesda, MD: National Cancer Institute. Date last modified <06/17/2014>. Available at: https://cancer.gov/cancertopics/pdq/treatment/mds-mpd/Patient. Accessed <07/11/2014>.

 

Content was created using EBSCO’s Health Library. Edits to original content made by Rector and Visitors of the University of Virginia. This information is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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