Chronic myeloid leukemia diagnosis and tests
The majority of patients with chronic myeloid leukemia are diagnosed during the chronic phase of the disease. This phase lasts long enough to perceive alterations in blood tests before patients start displaying symptoms. In these cases, patients are expected to go through the accelerated phase and the blast phase of the disease in around 3 to 5 years.
The diagnosis of chronic myeloid leukemia is usually made by analyzing peripheral blood samples and should be confirmed by evaluating the presence of the Philadelphia chromosome in bone marrow samples. It is more common in middle-aged and younger individuals, and it is not so common in older patients.
There’s an extraordinary elevation of white blood cell count, which sometimes surpasses 300,000 cells per microliter. However, a total white blood count of 20,000 cells per microliter is usually enough to suspect a myeloproliferative disease.
Besides blood count, other tests include:
• Peripheral blood smear: It is a more profound analysis of the blood sample through a microscope. It shows precursor cells instead of mature leukocytes and may also show a high number of eosinophils and basophils.
• Bone marrow analysis: It is the final exam to be made in these patients, and cytogenetic studies show chromosomal material of chromosome 9 in the long arm of chromosome 22, which is known as the Philadelphia chromosome.