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What Is Childhood Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia (CML)?

  • Chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML) is a cancer of the blood. It affects a particular type of white blood cells called myeloid cells, or “myeloblasts.”

    • CML is uncommon in children.
    • Unlike other forms of childhood leukemia, CML progresses slowly, usually over a period of months or years.
    • CML is often accompanied by a specific type of chromosome rearrangement:
      • Part of chromosome #9 breaks off and attaches itself to chromosome #22
      • There is an exchange of genetic material between these two chromosomes
      • This rearrangement changes the position and functions of certain genes, which results in uncontrolled cell growth.

    Leukemia treatment at Dana-Farber/Boston Children's

    Children and teens with leukemia are treated through the Leukemia Program at Dana-Farber/Boston Children's Cancer and Blood Disorders Center. Dana-Farber/Boston Children’s has played a key role in refining treatment for childhood leukemia, and we continue to be a world leader in childhood leukemia clinical trials designed to increase cure rates, decrease treatment-related side effects and improve care for long-term survivors. The Leukemia Program also offers families the chance to have their child's leukemia cells molecularly profiled, which may help identify opportunities for targeted treatment.

    Learn more about CML

    Find in-depth information on chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML) on the Dana-Farber/Boston Children's website, including details on CML symptoms, diagnosis and treatment.