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Chronic Myeloid Leukemia - Causes

Last Updated on Dec 09, 2016
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95% of CML patients report the presence of a specific marker, the Philadelphia (Ph) chromosome.


CML is characterized by the presence of a specific marker, a chromosomal abnormality called the Philadelphia (Ph) chromosome. Approximately 95% of those suffering from CML harbor this abnormality. The Ph chromosome results from a translocation of genes located on the long arms of chromosomes 9 and 22.


[Schematic representation of 9:22 translocation. der9 -> chromosome 9 with extra translocated segment; ph1 -> Philadelphia chromosome.]

The 9:22 translocation brings two different genes together- the breakpoint cluster region gene (BCR),on chromosome 22 and the Ableson leukemia virus gene (ABL), a proto- oncogene, on chromosome 9. The resulting hybrid gene, the BCR-ABL codes for a protein, endowed with tyrosine kinase activity, which has the ability to activate signal transduction pathways. This protein fosters uncontrolled cell proliferation and genomic instability.


In mouse models a CML-like disease has been induced on administering bone marrow cells infected with a BCR-ABL gene-containing virus. In other animal models, the fusion proteins have been shown to transform normal progenitor blood cells to malignant cells.

The other risk factors involved in the onset of CML, irrespective of the Philadelphia chromosome, are the following:

  • Exposure to high amounts of ionizing radiation is the most prominent risk factor for CML. For instance, increased rates of CML were observed in people who were exposed to the atomic bombings of Nagasaki and Hiroshima.
  • CML is more common among men than in women
  • CML mostly affects older people between the ages of 50 to 60 years.
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  1. SUMMARY OF SPECIFIC SITES OF CANCER - (http://www.canceratlasindia.org/chapter6.asp)

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I was diagnosed with CML over 23 years ago and even now doctors are gutless and spineless. This comment above "it is near-impossible for the doctor to give a correct estimate of the prognosis." The key word here is "estimate." Of course they can but they will not. I had a bone marrow transplant more than 6 years after diagnosis and during those 6 years no doctor would give me any clue about my prognosis. I was at M.D. Andersen Cancer Center in Houston and I saw many many doctors who would not say a word. And your comment regarding BMTs is a bit off. Back in 1995 the survival rate of BMTs was less than 10%. How do I know? I saw it with my own eyes. A BMT is nothing more and nothing less than the doctors killing you and then they try to revive you. They are not too successful at it. May it is better now, but I would think not because from what I saw the doctors do not care about your health post BMT. I have had some very serious problems but all they could say is, "you're alive." I believe the media and the public word is misleading CML patients. Although, I had a BMT the CML is still with me. I have read many places where they state, "BMT cures patients." If this is the case, why do I still have it? CML Prognosis - fact or fiction?


I have CML, my numbers aren't very good right now, if I could survive 23 years after diagnosis I would be so grateful, not clear about why you are complaining? Thanks


My friend had a kidney transplant a few years back and just as when she thought everything was ok, her husband was diagnosed with chronic myelogenous leukemia which devastated her, specially since she earns very little as a government employee and because her husband was told he couldn't return to his job as an OFW because the doctor of the company he works says he was unfit to work. Please, Im begging anybody here for help.. let us make a difference in their lives by giving them a chance to grow old together and raise their 2 year-old son, who was born after the transplant was done, into somebody they hoped he would grow to be. I can be contacted through my email address for other details about this lady who would like to move heaven and earth to give to her husband the best of health that he deserves We are looking for possible ways to acquire imatinib mesylate for a low price and for kindhearted individulas who can donate the drug. Thank you very much and may God continue to bless us all!


Hi,I'm not in a position that I can help financially. Based on research I did one can avail this drug through 'Glivec International Patient Assistance Program'. A substitute drug is in clinical trials 'dasatinib, nilotinib', same can be availed as a trial volunteer. Hope this works for you.


Can u advice if there is any program in india to receive imatinib drug or CML treatment in low cost ?


Glivec [ Imatinib ] is given free of cost under patient assistance program, if you meet certain criteria like low income etc. Various hospitals are registred under this program. This program is available at CMC, Velloore,in INDIA.


is there a diet that i can follow in order to support my fight against Myeloid leukemia?any food that is good or bad?thank you

mag burnsdouglas

how would i go about doing the great north run to raise money for leukemia research?could you put me in touch with the rite person please? thanks mag burns douglas

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