Leukaemia is a collective term for a number of malignant diseases of the blood, all of which are found in the bone marrow, the place where blood cells are produced.

A degeneration of white blood cells (leukós = white, haïma = blood) occurs, which over a short (acute leukaemia) or longer period of time (chronic leukaemia) leads to a disruption in the production of normal blood cells. Uncontrolled cell growth of immature blood cells results in a reduced number of mature blood cells in the blood. Among the slower forms of leukaemia is chronic myeloid leukaemia (CML).1 CML is a rare disease with 1.5 new cases per 100,000 population per year. Men are affected slightly more often than women. CML occurs in all age groups, most commonly between 55 and 60 years.2 In the group of leukaemia, the proportion of patients with CML is 20%. Specific screening is difficult. Chemical agents (e.g. benzene) as well as drugs in the context of chemotherapy or immunosuppressants are considered risk factors. The onset of the disease is insidious and asymptomatic to asymptomatic (e.g., initially general symptoms such as fatigue, decreased performance, night sweats, weight loss, fever, later enlargement of the spleen).3 Drug therapy for CML is guideline-concordant with protein kinase inhibitors such as imatinib, nilotinib, or dasatinib.2


1 Cancer in focus. Leukemia in general. © OeGHO – Austrian Society for Hematology & Medical Oncology 2017. http://www.krebsimfokus.at/ueber-krebs/leukaemien/im-ueberblick.html (accessed: 02.05.2017).

2 Hochhaus A et al. Onkopedia guidelines. Chronic myeloid leukemia (CML). OeGHO. As of January 2013. https://www.onkopedia.com/de/onkopedia/guidelines/chronische-myeloische-leukaemie-cml/@@guideline/html/index.html (accessed: May 02, 2017).

3 Petzer A. Cancer in focus. Chronic myeloid leukemia (CML). © OeGHO – Austrian Society for Hematology & Medical Oncology 2017. http://www.krebsimfokus.at/ueber-krebs/leukaemien/chronische-myeloische-leukaemie-cml/im-ueberblick.html (accessed: 02.05.2017).