If you're being treated for chronic myelomonocytic leukemia (CMML), your first line of defense may be chemotherapy. During chemotherapy, you'll be given potent drugs that must be toxic enough to damage or kill the cancer cells. At the same time, these drugs take aim at normal cells and cause side effects. Yet, not everyone experiences side effects and people react differently.
Chemotherapy Drugs Used for CMML
There is no one standard treatment for CMML. Treatment may include standard-dose or low-dose cytarabine (Cytosar-U®), etoposide (VePesid®) and hydroxyurea (Hydrea®). Treatment with these agents has been useful for a small number of patients.
Azacitidine (Vidaza®) and decitabine (Dacogen®), approved for treating MDS, are also approved for treating CMML patients.
The small number (about 1 to 4 percent) of CMML patients who have the PDGFR-β and TEL gene mutations are treated with the drug imatinib mesylate (Gleevec®). Gleevec is an oral medication that is also approved to treat chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) and some other diseases.
Some drugs are swallowed in pill form. Others are given through a catheter (a thin, flexible tube or intravenous line) surgically placed in a vein, normally in your upper chest.
- Chemotherapy and Other Drug Therapies
- Managing Side Effects
- Integrative Medicine and Complementary and Alternative Therapies
- Food and Nutrition
- For information about the drugs mentioned on this page, visit Drug Listings.
- Download or order The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society's free booklet Understanding Side Effects of Drug Therapy