What is Blast Crisis – Symptoms and Criteria of Diagnosis

Chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML) is cancer which initially progresses slowly. Here, abnormal and immature white blood cells start growing in the bone marrow. In the later stages, the tendency extends in the blood as well. The final stage of this dreadful ailment is known as

blast crisis

. The other two prior phases of CML are chronic phase (85 percent patients are diagnosed in this phase) and the accelerated phase respectively. This article tries to gain further insight on this subject.

Blast Crisis

What is Blast Crisis?

By this stage of the disease, the cancer becomes a case of acute leukemia. Malignancy is observed to progressive very quickly along with a very short period of survival of the patient unfortunately.
Some of the Symptoms of the Final Stage of CML are:

  • Fatigue
  • Bone pain
  • Fever
  • Increased swelling of the spleen
  • Increased severity of anemia
  • Rise in the abnormally low levels of platelets in the blood
  • Rapid increase in the proportion of blast cells

Criteria for the Diagnosis of the Final Stage of CML:

  • Presence of immature white blood cells like lymphoblasts and myeloblasts in the bone marrow and the blood is the first criterion.
  • Large chunk of the rapidly growing immature cells are found in the bone marrow when biopsy is carried out.
  • Development of a tumor or a chunk of immature white blood cells (blast cells) outside the primary site of origin, the bone marrow is a definite indicator of this stage.

Though all age groups are at risk, middle aged and elderly people are found to develop this cancer more. CML affects men more than women with annual incidence of 1-2 per 100,000 individuals.


If the disease is diagnosed in the chronic phase, the survival rate is 90 percent owing to the development of targeted therapies. There is no way to save the life of the patient if CML advances to accelerated and

blast crisis


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