Leukemia: Chronic Myelomonocytic

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Early Detection, Diagnosis, and Staging TOPICS

Survival rates for chronic myelomonocytic leukemia

Survival rates are often used by doctors as a standard way of discussing a person’s prognosis (outlook). Some patients with cancer may want to know the survival statistics for people in similar situations, while others may not find the numbers helpful, or may even not want to know them. If you don’t want to know them, stop reading here and skip to the next section.

There is more than one way to describe a person’s likely prognosis (outlook). The statistics below talk about median survival. Median survival is the amount of time for half the patients in a group to die. This is a middle value -- half the patients live longer than this, and half do not live this long.

In order to get median survival estimates, doctors have to look at people who were treated several years ago. Improvements in treatment since then may result in a more favorable outlook for people now being diagnosed with chronic myelomonocytic (MY-eh-loh-MAH-noh-SIH-tik) leukemia (CMML).

Median survival estimates are based on previous outcomes of large numbers of people who had the disease, but they cannot predict what will happen in any particular person’s case. Many other factors may affect a person’s outlook, such as their age and overall health. Your doctor can tell you how the numbers below may apply to you, as he or she is familiar with the aspects of your particular situation.

Patients with CMML-1 tend to live longer than those with CMML-2. In one study of CMML patients diagnosed between 1975 and 2005, the median survival times with CMML-1 and CMML-2 were 20 months and 15 months, respectively. However, some patients lived much longer. About 20 percent of CMML-1 patients and about 10 percent of CMML-2 patients survived longer than 5 years. Also, patients with CMML-2 are more likely to go on to develop acute leukemia than patients with CMML-1. In the same study, 18 percent of CMML-1 patients and 63 percent of CMML-2 patients developed acute myeloid leukemia within 5 years of their CMML diagnosis.

In addition to the type of CMML, other factors may be helpful in predicting survival. These include blood cell counts, certain chromosome changes, and blood levels of LDH (lactate dehydrogenase).

Last Medical Review: 01/19/2014
Last Revised: 02/17/2016