Chronic Myeloproliferative Disorders

At a Glance

  • Myeloproliferative disorders are a group of slow growing blood cancers, including chronic myelogenous leukemia,
  • In these disorders, large numbers of abnormal red blood cells, white blood cells, or platelets grow and spread in the bone marrow and the peripheral blood.
  • There are several types of myeloproliferative disorders, each with its own symptoms, described below.

How Chronic Myeloproliferative Disorders Work

Normally, the bone marrow makes blood stem cells (immature cells) that develop into mature blood cells over time. A blood stem cell may become a myeloid stem cell or a lymphoid stem cell. The lymphoid stem cell develops into a white blood cell. The myeloid stem cell develops into one of three types of mature blood cells; red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets. In myeloproliferative blood disorders too many blood stem cells develop into one or more types of blood cells. The disorders usually get worse slowly as the number of extra blood cells increases.

Types of Chronic Myeloproliferative Disorders

Chronic myeloproliferative disorders include the following 6 types:
  • Chronic myelogenous leukemia.
  • Polycythemia Vera.
  • Primary myelofibrosis (also called chronic idiopathic myelofibrosis).
  • Essential thrombocythemia.
  • Chronic neutrophilic leukemia.
  • Chronic eosinophilic leukemia.
Learn more about each type of myeloproliferative disorder and the symptoms.


The following tests and procedures may be used to diagnose chronic myeloproliferative disorders.
  • Physical exam and history: An exam of the body to check general signs of health, including checking for signs of disease, such as lumps or anything else that seems unusual. A history of the patient’s health habits and past illnesses and treatments will also be taken.
  • Complete blood count (CBC) with differential: A procedure in which a sample of blood is drawn and checked for the following:
    • The number of red blood cells and platelets.
    • The number and type of white blood cells.
    • The amount of hemoglobin (the protein that carries oxygen) in the red blood cells.
    • The portion of the blood sample made up of red blood cells
  • Bone marrow aspiration and biopsy: The removal of bone marrow, blood, and a small piece of bone by inserting a hollow needle into the hipbone or breastbone. A pathologist views the bone marrow, blood, and bone under a microscope to look for abnormal cells.
  • Cytogenetic analysis: A test in which cells in a sample of blood or bone marrow are viewed under a microscope to look for certain changes in the chromosomes. Certain diseases or disorders may be diagnosed or ruled out based on the chromosomal changes.
If you have recently been diagnosed with a myeloproliferative disorder, contact us to request an appointment with Diablo Valley Oncology’s physicians to learn more about your treatment options.