Background: Chronic myelomonocytic leukemia (CMML) is a rare chronic myeloid malignancy with a poor prognosis. There are few epidemiologic studies on CMML. We studied population-based outcomes in CMML using the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) and the National Cancer Database (NCDB).

Methods: The SEER 18 registries and NCDB Participant User File were used to identify patients with ICD-O-3 diagnosis code 9945/3 from 2004-2015. Incidence was identified using SEER and age-adjusted to the U.S. 2000 standard population. Causes of death were obtained and CMML-related death was defined as death from any myeloid disorder (CMML, acute monocytic leukemia, acute myeloid leukemia [AML], chronic myeloid leukemia, other myeloid/monocytic leukemia, and aleukemic, subleukemic, and NOS) to avoid misattribution. Relative survival (RS) was defined as the ratio of the proportion of observed survivors in a cohort of CMML patients to the proportion of expected survivors in a comparable set of individuals that did not have CMML, adjusting for the general survival of the US population for race, sex, age, and time when the diagnosis was established. Time to AML was calculated using the left-truncated life tables session and a 3 month latency period was used to prevent misattribution. Per the NCDB's system on classifying treatment, hydroxyurea, decitabine, and azacitidine are considered chemotherapy. The Kaplan-Meier method was used to calculate overall survival (OS), and Cox regression model was used to identify predictors of survival. Variables significant in univariate analysis (age, Charlson Deyo score [CDS], insurance type, and treatment facility type) were included in a multivariate analysis. Statistical analyses were performed using SAS version 9.0.


In the SEER database (n=4437), the median age at diagnosis was 76 years (interquartile range [IQR] 68-83) and 2,783 patients (63%) were male. Incidence rates (1 case/1,000,000 individuals) were as follows: overall 4.4, male 6.6, female 2.9, Non-Hispanic White 4.9, and Non-Hispanic Black 3.3. The incidence did not significantly change from 2004 to 2015. With a median follow up of 5.8 years (95% CI: 5.5-6.3), the median OS was 1.3 years (95% CI: 1.3-1.4). 3635 patients (82%) died. Among those who died, 2016 patients (55%) deaths were CMML-related. When comparing CMML patients to the US general population, 3,156 patients were matched to the expected survival tables. In the general U.S. population, the expected survival for 12, 24, 36, 48 and 60 months was 95.6%, 91.3%, 87.1%, 83.1%, and 79.2%, respectively. In contrast, the RS for patients with CMML at the same time points was 63.6%, 46.2%, 35.2%, 28.8%, and 23.1% (Figure 1). 229 patients (5.2%) progressed to AML. The median time to AML was 1.2 years (IQR 0.6-2.3).

In NCDB (n=6403), the median age at diagnosis was 74 years (IQR 66-82). With the median follow up of 6 years (95% CI 3.5-9), the median OS was 1.3 years (95% CI 0.4-3.3). The distribution of CDS score 0, 1, and >1 was 4518 (71%), 1193 (18%), and 692 (11%) respectively. 4687 (77%) had government insurance, while 1399 (23%) had private insurance. 3750 (60%) were treated at a non-academic center. The year of diagnosis was associated with improved OS (HR 0.99, 95% CI: 0.98-0.99). Patients who were diagnosed in 2012-2015 had improved OS compared to patients diagnosed in 2004-2007 (HR 0.89, 95% CI 0.83-0.95) with OS at 1- and 5- years being 60% and 16% (2012-2015) vs. 56% and 17% (2008-2011) vs. 53% and 15% (2004-2007) respectively. 3029 (48%) patients received chemotherapy, while 270 (4%) patients received stem cell transplant as the first-line therapy. The median time to chemotherapy from diagnosis was 19 days (IQR 6-43). OS at 1-, 5-, and 10-years was 57%, 18%, and 4% (no chemotherapy), 56%, 14%, and 7% (received chemotherapy), 79%, 44%, and 38% (received stem cell transplant), and 56%, 15%, 5% (no stem cell transplant). OS curves are shown in Figure 2. Factors independently predicting inferior OS were age ≥ 65 years at the time of diagnosis (p<0.001), CDS ≥ 1 (p<0.001), government insurance (p<0.001), and treatment at a non-academic center (p<0.001) (Table).


Despite an improvement in survival over the years, CMML continues to be a cause of significant morbidity and mortality. Older age, CDS ≥ 1, government insurance, and treatment at non-academic facilities were predictive of inferior survival.


Shah:Dren Bio: Consultancy.

Author notes


Asterisk with author names denotes non-ASH members.