Long term follow-up of Asian patients with chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) receiving allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) from HLA-identical sibling—evaluation of risks and benefits

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Allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) is the only known curative therapy for patients with chronic myeloid leukemia (CML), but is associated with significant morbidity and mortality. The recent introduction of imatinib mesylate (STI-571) and reduced intensity transplant regimens has made the choice of primary treatment for patients with CML increasingly difficult. We have evaluated the outcome of 53 patients who have received allogeneic HSCT from human leukocyte antigen (HLA)-identical sibling donors between October 1985 and March 2002, determined the variables affecting the outcome, and tried to define indications for this aggressive approach. Successful engraftment occurred in 49 (98%) of evaluable patients. Acute graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) of grade II to IV severity was observed in 63% of the evaluable patients whereas the incidence of chronic GVHD was 57.5%. The Kaplan-Meier estimate of survival at 10 years was 54% [95% confidence interval (CI): 38–70%] and 31% (95% CI: 6–56%) for patients with first chronic phase and more advanced diseases, respectively. Multivariate analysis showed that younger age, absence of grade III-IV GVHD, the use of busulphan and cyclophosphamide (BuCy) as preparative regimen, and transplantation performed after January 1992 were factors associated with improved survival. Patients who were 30 years of age or younger who had transplantation done within 1 year after diagnosis during their first chronic phase of disease had a particularly good prognosis, with a probability of surviving 10 years of 72% (95% CI: 52–92%). We conclude that allogeneic HSCT remains a feasible option for Asian patients with CML. The most favorable outcome is observed in younger patients with early phase of the disease.

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