Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia Prognosis

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Like most cancers outcome or prognosis of the patient with chronic myeloid leukemia depends on several factors. Many of these further depend on the person’s ability to respond to therapy.

These prognostic factors are sometimes helpful when choosing treatment modalities and predicting possible outcome.

Factors that are not good and are associated with shorter survival time are called adverse prognostic factors. Similarly some factors are good and predict a good response to therapy and better outcome.

Scientist-Survivor Story: Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia

Adverse prognostic factors

These factors usually predict a worse outcome from treatment of CML. These include:-

  • Patient in accelerated or blast phase – these phases of CML usually fail to respond adequately to therapy unlike those in chronic phase
  • Swollen spleen – an enlarged spleen usually predicts a poor response to therapy
  • Increased areas of bone damage by the spread of the leukemia
  • Certain cells in blood predict a worse outcome of the disease
  • Similarly more than a few changes in the chromosomes on cytogenetic analysis mean a bad prognosis for the patient
  • Very high or very low platelet counts in blood are a bad prognostic factor
  • Patients over the age of 60 years are also less likely to respond favourably to treatment

The Sokal system

The prognostic factors are taken into account and are scored as per the Sokal system to predict the outlook of the patient.

The Sokal prognostic system takes into account several factors like the age of the person, the percent of blasts, the size of the spleen, the numbers of different kinds of cells etc. in order to predict the possible outcome of the cancer.

Before the Sokal system the Euro score system was used to divide patients into different risk groups. It is not clear if these systems are wholly effective in predicting outcome after the advent of more targeted and effective therapies with drugs like Imatinib.

Rates of survival with chronic myeloid leukemia

The exact survival rates are not known for all cases of CML. However, 90% of those patients who respond favourably to tyrosine kinase inhibitors like Imatinib have been seen to survive without complications for at least 5 years after treatment commencement. Most of these patients had normal white blood cell counts at 5 years.

Further Reading

Last Updated: Jan 24, 2023

Dr. Ananya Mandal

Written by

Dr. Ananya Mandal

Dr. Ananya Mandal is a doctor by profession, lecturer by vocation and a medical writer by passion. She specialized in Clinical Pharmacology after her bachelor's (MBBS). For her, health communication is not just writing complicated reviews for professionals but making medical knowledge understandable and available to the general public as well.


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