Data on 649 white residents of Brooklyn first diagnosed as having chronic leukemia during the period 1943 to 1952 were obtained from hospital records. Diagnosis was based on marrow biopsy or autopsy in 65 per cent. Follow-up to January 1, 1958 was complete for 90.0 per cent (584) of the patients. The life table method and the method of maximum likelihood applied to the three parameter log-normal distribution were used to analyze survival trends of these patients.
The median duration of survival after diagnosis for the total sample was 11.65 months. Sixteen per cent of the patients survived longer than 43 months after diagnosis, and 9 per cent survived for five years. The mean duration of symptoms prior to diagnosis was 5.1 months.
Median durations were somewhat longer for females than for males and for patients with chronic lymphocytic leukemia than for those with chronic myelocytic leukemia. However, neither of these differences was statistically significant.
The duration of survival after diagnosis was significantly shorter for males and females with chronic myelocytic leukemia who were over 60 years of age than for any other age or diagnosis group. For patients with chronic lymphocytic leukemia, duration of survival was independent of age.
Duration of survival after diagnosis was independent of the duration of symptoms prior to diagnosis. The median duration of survival for a group of patients in whom the diagnosis was made during examination for symptoms referable to some other condition was similar to that of those presenting with symptoms clearly referable to leukemia.
Two groups by religion and ABO blood type showed significantly longer median durations of survival after diagnosis than comparable groups. Jewish women with chronic lymphocytic leukemia showed a median duration of survival of 21.1 months compared with 6.4 months for the non-Jewish women. Women with chronic myelocytic leukemia of type B or AB blood had median survivals after diagnosis of about 24 months, compared with about 10 months for the same groups with type A or O blood.