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Hematology Am Soc Hematol Educ Program. 2017 Dec 8;2017(1):102-109. doi: 10.1182/asheducation-2017.1.102.

Treatment-free remission in CML: who, how, and why?

Author information

Institut Bergonié, Cancer Centre, Laboratory of Mammary and Leukemic Oncogenesis: Genetic Diversity and Resistance to Treatment, INSERM U1218, University of Bordeaux, Bordeaux, France.


Chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) is the best example of successful targeted therapy. Today, the overall survival of patients with CML treated by using tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs) is very close to that of the healthy population. The current question is: how can we further ameliorate the clinical outcome of patients with CML? Clinical trials have shown that some patients with CML in the chronic phase who achieve sustained deep molecular responses on TKI therapy can safely suspend therapy with no evidence of relapse. The long follow-up studies and the number of eligible patients have now validated the concept of treatment-free remission (ie, the ability to maintain a molecular response after stopping therapy). It should be considered as the future criterion to evaluate the success of clinical trials, especially if we want to take into account the quality of life of patients in addition to the economic aspect. Because post-TKI discontinuation follow-ups have been increasing over time with no evidence of relapse in some patients, the next step for the coming decade will be to address the topic of CML cure.

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Conflict of interest statement

Conflict-of-interest disclosure: The author is on the Board of Directors or an advisory committee for Novartis Pharmaceuticals; has received research funding from Novartis Pharmaceuticals; has consulted for Novartis Pharmaceuticals, BMS, and Pfizer; and has received honoraria from Novartis Pharmaceuticals, BMS, Pfizer, and Incyte.

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