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Juvenile chronic myelogenous leukemia (JCML) is an aggressive myeloproliferative disorder of childhood that differs both clinically and pathologically from adult type, Philadelphia chromosome positive chronic myelogenous leukemia, and from the other myeloproliferative disorders that are more common in adulthood. The disease can have widely varying clinical presentations and shares many features with the monosomy 7 syndrome and chronic myelomonocytic leukemia. With no specific marker chromosome, establishing the diagnosis can be difficult, and relies on a constellation of clinical, pathologic, and laboratory findings. This article discusses the differential diagnosis of JCML with an emphasis on the pathologic findings and laboratory data that are particularly important for confirming the diagnosis. The sensitivity, specificity, and clinical utility of cell culture colony assays are reviewed. Finally, current knowledge of the biology of JCML and some of the controversies regarding this disease are discussed.