Management strategies of patients with chronic-phase chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) have been revolutionized by the BCR-ABL-selective kinase inhibitor imatinib, which is substantially improving median survival. However, a proportion of patients suffer progressive disease on imatinib therapy. Importantly, patients who are particularly at risk for developing progressive disease can be identified with appropriate monitoring of disease burden. Many of these patients may benefit from alternative treatment strategies, including second-generation kinase inhibitors such as dasatinib. As a result of improvements in medical therapy, allogeneic stem cell transplantation is increasingly deferred despite its known curative potential. It is anticipated that outcomes with medical therapy will continue to improve with the availability of effective second- and third-generation kinase inhibitors, and the percentage of patients progressing to the advanced phase of the disease is projected to decline. The future of kinase inhibitor therapy for CML may involve combinations of ABL kinase inhibitors.