Chronic myelomonocytic leukemia - a review

Expert Rev Hematol. 2021 Jan;14(1):59-77. doi: 10.1080/17474086.2021.1860004. Epub 2020 Dec 12.


Introduction: Chronic myelomonocytic leukemia (CMML) is a clonal myeloid neoplasm, denoted by overlapping myelodysplastic and myeloproliferative features, with poor overall survival and high transformation rate to acute myeloid leukemia.

Areas covered: This review, following a thorough Medline search of pertinent published literature, discusses the diagnostic criteria, the pathogenesis, and the complex genetic landscape of the disease. Prognostication, response criteria, therapeutic management of patients, efficacy of established and novel treatment modalities are thoroughly reviewed.

Expert opinion: Cytogenetic abnormalities and mutations in genes involved in epigenetic and transcriptional regulation, and cell-signaling are abundant in CMML and implicated in its complex pathogenesis. As presence of these mutations carry a prognostic impact, they are increasingly incorporated in risk-stratification schemes. Novel response criteria have been proposed, considering the unique features of the disease. Although allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation remains the only treatment with curative intent, it is reserved for a minority of patients; therefore, there is an unmet need for optimizing treatment modalities, such as hypomethylating agents, and introducing novel agents, which could substantially improve survival and quality of life of CMML patients. Clinical trials dedicated specifically to CMML are needed to explore the efficacy and safety of novel treatment modalities.

Keywords: Chronic myelomonocytic leukemia; asxl1; cmml; hypomethylating agents; myelodysplastic/myeloproliferative disease; tet2.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Blast Crisis / diagnosis
  • Blast Crisis / pathology
  • Blast Crisis / therapy
  • Disease Management
  • Humans
  • Leukemia, Myelomonocytic, Chronic / diagnosis
  • Leukemia, Myelomonocytic, Chronic / pathology*
  • Leukemia, Myelomonocytic, Chronic / therapy*
  • Prognosis