Treatment for chronic myeloid leukemia has the main goal of taking care of the signs and symptoms of the patient, preventing and treating infection, and achieving remission of the hematologic abnormalities. For this purpose, a wide variety of medications can be used, and the majority of them are myelosuppressive, which means they are made to inhibit the formation of white blood cells.
One of the best medications for CML is called imatinib mesylate, and it is a tyrosine kinase inhibitor. This agent is actually the first-line treatment when the Philadelphia chromosome is detected and can be used in adult and children, and almost every phase of the disease. It works by decreasing the activity of an enzyme called tyrosine kinase, whose activity becomes exaggerated during chronic myeloid leukemia.
Other treatment agents include interferon alfa and other myelosuppressive agents. In some patients, and depending on the phase of the disease and their age, it will be recommended to undergo allogeneic bone marrow transplantation.