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Chronic myeloid leukemia (CML)

Every year, only a few children in the Netherlands are diagnosed with chronic myeloid leukemia (CML). The disease occurs in children of all ages. CML involves uninhibited division and growth of a certain type of blood cells (usually white blood cells, sometimes red blood cells or platelets) leaving no room for the production of healthy blood cells.

The brochure Myeloid leukemia contains comprehensive information about this disease. Please note this brochure is currently only available in Dutch. The most important information is provided below.


The DNA in leukemia cells is often found to be damaged. This damage occurs only in the leukemia cells and not in the healthy body cells. Unfortunately, we still do not know why that is, and so for the most part we do not know why a child develops leukemia. Occasionally, the disease is related to a congenital defect or disease, such as Down's syndrome, Fanconi anemia or Noonan syndrome. On rare occasions, the damage is the result of past chemotherapy treatment.


Children with CML are often tired and lethargic, suffer bone pain or a swollen abdomen due to an enlarged spleen.

How is chronic myeloid leukemia diagnosed?

Sometimes blood tests clearly indicate leukemia, but usually we need to extract bone marrow and collect cerebrospinal fluid. These procedures are performed under sedation.


Children with CML are treated according to a protocol drawn up by national and international experts. Treatment consists of tyrosine kinase inhibitors. This drug blocks the growth of the abnormal white blood cells. Your child will need to take these capsules or tablets for quite some time, but that will probably be of no bother to them.

Chance of recovery

Children with CML stand a good chance of survival. Don't be influenced too much by statistics. Every child and every situation is unique.


Children with chronic myeloid leukemia are treated in the hematology-oncology department.