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


Research on the causes, diagnosis, and treatment of chronic myelomonocytic leukemia (CMML) is being done at many cancer research centers. Scientists are making progress in understanding which 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’ outcomes and how likely they are to go on to develop acute leukemia. Research continues in this area, and someday, this information may help guide treatment decisions.

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


Studies are in progress to find the best combination of chemotherapy drugs while trying to limit side effects. New drugs are continually being developed and tested.

As researchers have learned more about what makes cancer cells different from normal cells, they've begun to develop drugs that target these differences. Studies are looking at targeted therapies to treat CMML. These therapies target things like specific cell signaling pathways to shut down cancer cell growth. Some of these drugs are already being used to treat other cancers.

Stem cell transplant

Scientists continue to refine this procedure so that it works better and causes fewer problems. They are also looking at which patients will benefit the most and how newer transplant methods might be used to treat CMML.

The American Cancer Society medical and editorial content team

Our team is made up of doctors and oncology certified nurses with deep knowledge of cancer care as well as journalists, editors, and translators with extensive experience in medical writing.

Benton CB, Nazha A, Pemmaraju N, Garcia-Manero G. Chronic myelomonocytic leukemia: Forefront of the field in 2015. Crit Rev Oncol Hematol. 2015;95(2):222-242.

Patnaik MM, Tefferi A. Chronic myelomonocytic leukemia: 2016 update on diagnosis, risk stratification, and management. Am J Hematol. 2016;91(6):631-642.

Last Revised: October 25, 2017

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