What's New in Chronic Myelomonocytic Leukemia Research and Treatment?

Genetics

Research on the causes, diagnosis, and treatment of chronic myelomonocytic (MY-eh-loh-MAH-noh-SIH-tik) leukemia (CMML) is being done at many cancer research centers. Scientists are making progress in understanding how changes in a person's DNA and RNA can cause normal bone marrow cells to develop into leukemia cells.

Studies have found that changes in the structure or activity of certain genes in CMML cells may help predict patients’ prognosis and how likely the patient is to develop acute leukemia. This information may eventually be used to help guide treatment decisions.

As more information from this research unfolds, it may be used in designing new drugs or eventually in developing gene therapy. This approach replaces the abnormal DNA of cancer cells with normal DNA to restore normal control of cell growth.

Chemotherapy

Studies are in progress to find the most effective combination of chemotherapy drugs while still avoiding unnecessary side effects. New drugs are continually being developed and tested. An oral (by mouth) form of azacitidine is being tested. Research is underway to determine whether patients with certain unfavorable prognostic features will benefit from more intensive chemotherapy.

Stem cell transplant

Scientists continue to refine this procedure to increase its effectiveness, reduce complications, and determine which patients are likely to be helped by this treatment.

The American Cancer Society medical and editorial content team
Our team is made up of doctors and master’s-prepared nurses with deep knowledge of cancer care as well as journalists, editors, and translators with extensive experience in medical writing.

Last Medical Review: January 19, 2014 Last Revised: February 17, 2016

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