Chronic myelomonocytic leukemia: 2024 update on diagnosis, risk stratification and management

Am J Hematol. 2024 Jun;99(6):1142-1165. doi: 10.1002/ajh.27271. Epub 2024 Mar 7.


Disease overview: Chronic myelomonocytic leukemia (CMML) is a clonal hematopoietic stem cell disorder with overlapping features of myelodysplastic syndromes and myeloproliferative neoplasms, characterized by prominent monocytosis and an inherent risk for leukemic transformation (~15%-20% over 3-5 years).

Diagnosis: Newly revised diagnostic criteria include sustained (>3 months) peripheral blood (PB) monocytosis (≥0.5 × 109/L; monocytes ≥10% of leukocyte count), consistent bone marrow (BM) morphology, <20% BM or PB blasts (including promonocytes), and cytogenetic or molecular evidence of clonality. Cytogenetic abnormalities occur in ~30% of patients, while >95% harbor somatic mutations: TET2 (~60%), SRSF2 (~50%), ASXL1 (~40%), RAS pathway (~30%), and others. The presence of ASXL1 and DNMT3A mutations and absence of TET2 mutations negatively impact overall survival (ASXL1WT/TET2MT genotype being favorable).

Risk stratification: Several risk models serve similar purposes in identifying high-risk patients that are considered for allogeneic stem cell transplant (ASCT) earlier than later. Risk factors in the Mayo Molecular Model (MMM) include presence of truncating ASXL1 mutations, absolute monocyte count >10 × 109/L, hemoglobin <10 g/dL, platelet count <100 × 109/L, and the presence of circulating immature myeloid cells; the resulting 4-tiered risk categorization includes high (≥3 risk factors), intermediate-2 (2 risk factors), intermediate-1 (1 risk factor), and low (no risk factors); the corresponding median survivals were 16, 31, 59, and 97 months. CMML is also classified as being "myeloproliferative (MP-CMML)" or "myelodysplastic (MD-CMML)," based on the presence or absence of leukocyte count of ≥13 × 109/L.

Treatment: ASCT is the only treatment modality that secures cure or long-term survival and is appropriate for MMM high/intermediate-2 risk disease. Drug therapy is currently not disease-modifying and includes hydroxyurea and hypomethylating agents; a recent phase-3 study (DACOTA) comparing hydroxyurea and decitabine, in high-risk MP-CMML, showed similar overall survival at 23.1 versus 18.4 months, respectively, despite response rates being higher for decitabine (56% vs. 31%).

Unique disease associations: These include systemic inflammatory autoimmune diseases, leukemia cutis and lysozyme-induced nephropathy; the latter requires close monitoring of renal function during leukocytosis and is a potential indication for cytoreductive therapy.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation
  • Humans
  • Leukemia, Myelomonocytic, Chronic* / diagnosis
  • Leukemia, Myelomonocytic, Chronic* / genetics
  • Leukemia, Myelomonocytic, Chronic* / therapy
  • Mutation
  • Risk Assessment