Overview of Myeloid Cell Line

As blood cells develop, different “families” branch off from blood-forming stem cells. The myeloid cell line represents one such family. Cells in the myeloid cell line are those that arise from myeloid progenitor cells, and will eventually become the specific adult blood cells, shown here:

Thus, each of the cell types above represents the final product or the result of growing up in the myeloid family.

It's the myeloid cell line that is affected in "myeloid malignancies" such as acute myelogenous leukemia (AML), which has the highest total number of diagnoses each year, and chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML), which accounts for about 6,660 new diagnoses in a year in the United States.

Blood Test


Red cells, white blood cells, and platelets all have fixed life expectancies, and they are replaced continuously. Blood-forming stem cells—residing mostly in the bone marrow in adults—multiply and produce different populations or lineages of cells.

All mature blood cells can trace their lineage back to a single cell type, the multipotent hematopoietic stem cell (HSC), something akin to the “Adam and Eve” of all blood cells. These stem cells divide, both to make replacements for themselves and to form “progenitor cells.” Among the descendants of the HSC, then, are different kinds of progenitor cells: there is a common lymphoid progenitor and a common myeloid progenitor. This fork in the road between lymphoid and myeloid lineages is a major one. Each progenitor can give rise to its own distinct families of blood cells. White blood cells known as lymphocytes develop from lymphoid progenitors, while different white blood cells, red blood cells, and platelets develop from the myeloid progenitors.

Myeloid Malignancies

According to the American Cancer Society, most patients with acute myeloid leukemia (AML) have too many immature white cells in their blood, and not enough red blood cells or platelets. Many of the white blood cells may be myeloblasts—often just called blasts—which are immature blood-forming cells that are not normally found circulating in the peripheral blood. These immature cells don’t work like normal, mature white blood cells.

Most patients with chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) have too many white blood cells with many early, immature cells. Some of these immature white cells may be also blasts but usually are present in smaller number than in AML. Sometimes CML patients may also have low numbers of red blood cells or blood platelets.

The Philadelphia chromosome, named after the city in which it was discovered, is present in 90% of cases of CML but only rarely in AML; it is another distinguishing feature.

In both AML and CML, counts of blood cells can be suggestive of leukemia, but a definitive diagnosis requires bone marrow biopsy and aspirate and other tests.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What are myeloid cells?

    A myeloid cell is a type of blood cell that originates in the bone marrow. As a myeloid cell matures into an adult blood cell, it will take on a specific role as a basophil, eosinophil, erythrocyte, macrophage, monocyte, neutrophil, or platelet. 

  • Are myeloid cells cancerous?

    On their own, myeloid cells do not indicate cancer. However, myeloid cells can develop cancer known as myeloid malignancies.

    For example, acute myeloid leukemia (AML) is a blood and bone marrow cancer. Caused by a DNA mutation in the stem cells, AML occurs when the bone marrow makes a large number of abnormal blood cells.

  • What is the difference between myeloid and lymphoid cells?

    While both myeloid and lymphoid progenitors originate in the bone marrow, the myeloid lineage can mature in the marrow environment while the lymphoid series require maturation outside the bone marrow. The myeloid series goes on to form the neutrophil, basophil, eosinophil, red blood cell, monocyte, macrophage, and platelet while the lymphoid lineage goes on to form the B or T lymphocyte.

6 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Kondo M. Lymphoid and myeloid lineage commitment in multipotent hematopoietic progenitors. Immunol Rev. 2010 Nov;238(1):37-46. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-065X.2010.00963.x

  2. American Cancer Society. Key statistics for acute myeloid leukemia.

  3. American Cancer Society. Tests for Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML).

  4. Shao X, Chen D, Xu P. Primary Philadelphia chromosome positive acute myeloid leukemia: A case report. Medicine: November 2018 - Volume 97 - Issue 44 - p e12949 doi: 10.1097/MD.0000000000012949

  5. American Cancer Society. Phases of chronic myeloid leukemia.

  6. NHS. Causes. Acute Myeloid Leukaemia.

Additional Reading
  • American Cancer Society. How is acute myeloid leukemia diagnosed? 

  • Eaves CJ. Hematopoietic stem cells: concepts, definitions, and the new reality. Blood; 125(17):2605-2613.

  • Jagannathan-Bogdan M, Zon LI. Hematopoiesis. Development (Cambridge, England); 140(12):2463-2467.

  • Krumsiek J, Marr C, Schroeder T, et al. Hierarchical Differentiation of Myeloid Progenitors Is Encoded in the Transcription Factor Network. PLoS One; 6(8):e22649.

  • Orkin SH, Zon LI. Hematopoiesis: An Evolving Paradigm for Stem Cell Biology. Cell; 132(4):631-644.

  • Williams, L. "Comprehensive Review of Hematopoiesis and Immunology: Implications for Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplant Recipients" in Ezzone, S. Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation: A Manual for Nursing Practice Oncology Nursing Society: Pittsburgh, PA (pp.1- 12).

By Karen Raymaakers
Karen Raymaakers RN, CON(C) is a certified oncology nurse that has worked with leukemia and lymphoma patients for over a decade.