Periodic chronic myelogenous leukaemia: spectral analysis of blood cell counts and aetiological implications


Dr M. C. Mackey, 3655 Drummond Street, Room 1124, Montreal, Quebec, Canada H3G 1Y6. e-mail:


Of 24 published clinical reports of periodic chronic myelogenous leukaemia (PCML), 21 had sufficient data to analyse for periodicity, and 12 showed significant periodicity ( p leqslant R: less-than-or-eq, slant 0.05) using the Lomb periodogram. Leucocyte oscillations had periods T ranging from 37 to 83 d. When data were also reported for platelets and reticulocytes there was no significant difference between their periods and those of the leucocytes. These data and their analysis provide strong circumstantial evidence for a haemopoietic stem cell origin of PCML. Namely, the known chromosomal changes in CML patients may, on occasion, also be accompanied by a destabilization resulting in an oscillatory efflux into the leucocyte, platelet and erythrocytic pathways.