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Chronic Myelomonocytic Leukemia (CMML)

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CMML is an uncommon type of blood cancer impacting the monocyte blood cells, which are part of the body’s defense system for recognizing germs and producing antibodies to fight infection. Typically the white blood cell count becomes very high as a result of CMML and many patients have enlarged spleens.


Common symptoms of CMML include:

  • Enlarged spleen or liver
  • Fatigue
  • Shortness of breath
  • Pale skin
  • Frequent or severe infections
  • Easy bruising and bleeding
  • Causes and Risk Factors

As with many forms of leukemia, men more than 60 years of age are at risk. Prior chemotherapy treatment also is considered a risk factor.

Tests to Diagnose CMML

A complete blood count, or CBC, is a test that measures the level of different cells in the blood, such as the red blood cells, the white blood cells, and the platelets.

During a bone marrow aspiration and biopsy a hollow needle is inserted in the hip bone to remove bone marrow, blood and bone. The sample then is examined under a microscope for abnormal cells.

During cytogenetics testing the chromosomes inside the cells are examined. DNA in human cells is packed into chromosomes. Each cell should have 46 chromosomes (23 pairs). Chromosome abnormalities are fairly common in CMML. Sometimes pieces of chromosomes or even whole chromosomes are missing.

A test called cytometry is used to determine the type of abnormal blood cells involved. This test helps determine if the increased number of abnormal white blood cells is a result of CLL or a different disorder. This test may also be used to analyze how aggressive the abnormal cells are.

Treatments and Therapies

The goal of CMML treatment is to eliminate a DNA gene responsible for the condition. Treatments and therapies include:

  • Targeted drug therapy
  • Bone marrow transplant
  • Chemotherapy
  • Clinical trials

Your health is our first priority. Please call 407.303.2070  to request an appointment and learn more about how the Blood and Marrow Transplant Center can help.