Quantitative modeling of chronic myeloid leukemia: insights from radiobiology

Blood. 2012 May 10;119(19):4363-71. doi: 10.1182/blood-2011-09-381855. Epub 2012 Feb 21.


Mathematical models of chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) cell population dynamics are being developed to improve CML understanding and treatment. We review such models in light of relevant findings from radiobiology, emphasizing 3 points. First, the CML models almost all assert that the latency time, from CML initiation to diagnosis, is at most ∼10 years. Meanwhile, current radiobiologic estimates, based on Japanese atomic bomb survivor data, indicate a substantially higher maximum, suggesting longer-term relapses and extra resistance mutations. Second, different CML models assume different numbers, between 400 and 10(6), of normal HSCs. Radiobiologic estimates favor values>10(6) for the number of normal cells (often assumed to be the HSCs) that are at risk for a CML-initiating BCR-ABL translocation. Moreover, there is some evidence for an HSC dead-band hypothesis, consistent with HSC numbers being very different across different healthy adults. Third, radiobiologists have found that sporadic (background, age-driven) chromosome translocation incidence increases with age during adulthood. BCR-ABL translocation incidence increasing with age would provide a hitherto underanalyzed contribution to observed background adult-onset CML incidence acceleration with age, and would cast some doubt on stage-number inferences from multistage carcinogenesis models in general.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Humans
  • Leukemia, Myelogenous, Chronic, BCR-ABL Positive / diagnosis*
  • Leukemia, Myelogenous, Chronic, BCR-ABL Positive / epidemiology
  • Leukemia, Myelogenous, Chronic, BCR-ABL Positive / etiology
  • Leukemia, Myelogenous, Chronic, BCR-ABL Positive / therapy*
  • Models, Biological
  • Models, Theoretical*
  • Nuclear Weapons
  • Radiation, Ionizing
  • Radiobiology / methods*
  • Recurrence
  • Survivors / statistics & numerical data
  • Time Factors