Abstract

The remarkable clinical activity of tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs) in chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) has transformed patient outcome. Consequently, allogeneic stem cell transplantation (allo-SCT) is no longer the only treatment modality with the ability to deliver long-term survival. In contrast to the central position it held in the treatment algorithm 20 years ago, allografting is now largely reserved for patients with either chronic-phase disease resistant to TKI therapy or advanced-phase disease. Over the same period, progress in transplant technology, principally the introduction of reduced intensity conditioning regimens coupled with increased donor availability, has extended transplant options in patients with CML whose outcome can be predicted to be poor if they are treated with TKIs alone. Consequently, transplantation is still a vitally important, potentially curative therapeutic modality in selected patients with either chronic- or advanced-phase CML. The major causes of transplant failure in patients allografted for CML are transplant toxicity and disease relapse. A greater understanding of the distinct contributions made by various factors such as patient fitness, patient-donor HLA disparity, conditioning regimen intensity, and transplant toxicity increasingly permits personalized transplant decision making. At the same time, advances in the design of conditioning regimens coupled with the use of adjunctive posttransplant cellular and pharmacologic therapies provide opportunities for reducing the risk of disease relapse. The role of SCT in the management of CML will grow in the future because of an increase in disease prevalence and because of continued improvements in transplant outcome.

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