In less than 10 years, the prognosis of chronic myeloid leukaemia has changed from that of a fatal disease to a disorder amenable simply to lifelong oral medication and compatible with a normal lifespan. This change has been made possible by a deep understanding of the molecular pathogenesis and a determination to develop targeted and selective drugs. This Seminar summarises the presentation, pathophysiology, diagnosis and monitoring technology, treatment options, side-effects, and outcomes of chronic myeloid leukaemia, and discusses the possibility of cure-ie, stable undetectable or low level disease in the absence of medication. Chronic myeloid leukaemia continues to instruct us in the mechanisms of leukaemogenesis and provides hope not only for similar developments in management of other malignancies, but also for the remarkable speed with which these can move from bench to bedside.
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