Once a treatment plan is under way, doctors need to do various tests so they can monitor how well a patient is responding. Particularly important are tests of blood and bone marrow to measure how the therapy is working against leukemia cells in the body over time to control CML. These tests can be similar to those done to diagnose the disease.
A leading method is called PCR testing. PCR stands for polymerase chain reaction, which is a test done at the molecular level to determine very specifically how well treatment has suppressed CML. To watch an educational video about PCR testing from the CML Society of Canada, click here.
Even in patients who are getting a good response to treatment it is important to continue to be tested regularly because CML is a chronic disease that in most patients using conventional drug therapy doesn’t go away and can return even after seemingly being under control.