Chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) is a myeloproliferative disease of the hematopoietic stem cell (HSC). In its natural history, CML is a tri-phasic disease, presenting predominantly in a chronic phase averaging around 5–7 years, but spanning from between a few months to over 20 years. Unless properly treated, the disease progresses through an ill-defined accelerated phase, which leads to transformation into an aggressive acute leukemia or blast crisis.
CML has a relatively low incidence of approximately 1–1.5 new cases per 100,000 people per year. However, its prevalence is on the increase due to the significant improvement in its treatment over the past 10 years, enabling patients with CML to achieve survival rates comparable to those of the age-matched healthy population. CML represents over 20% of all leukemia in adults.