The milliliter is based on the liter, which is not a standard unit in the SI system, while the cubic centimeter is a derived unit from the SI standard unit of length, the meter. Both contain the same volume.
A liter is defined as 1 cubic decimeter. There are 10 centimeters in a decimeter. Thus, the liter is 1,000 cubic centimeters. Using the metric system's prefixes, a milliliter is then 1/1000 liter or 1 cubic centimeter. In the medical field, the cubic centimeter is the common measure of liquids, while in chemistry, the liter or milliliter are the commonly preferred units for volumes.