Curing chronic myeloid leukemia

Curr Hematol Malig Rep. 2012 Jun;7(2):103-8. doi: 10.1007/s11899-012-0117-2.


The use of tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs) targeted against the BCR-ABL1 oncoprotein has proven remarkably successful in chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) and long-term survival has become a reality. Despite this outstanding progress, detection of minimal residual disease precludes therapy termination in most TKI-receiving patients. CML has thus turned into a chronic illness, raising concerns about long-term safety, medication adherence, and health care costs. Although treatment cessation may be feasible in few selected patients achieving deep molecular responses, a definitive cure remains elusive owing to the discovery that TKIs spare quiescent leukemic stem cells (LSC). Understanding mechanisms underlying LSC behavior in TKI-treated patients may provide important clues to develop an array of strategies that ensure the complete destruction of LSC reservoirs and thereby offer CML patients a definitive cure.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antineoplastic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Humans
  • Leukemia, Myelogenous, Chronic, BCR-ABL Positive / drug therapy*
  • Leukemia, Myelogenous, Chronic, BCR-ABL Positive / pathology
  • Neoplastic Stem Cells / drug effects*
  • Protein Kinase Inhibitors / therapeutic use*
  • Protein-Tyrosine Kinases / antagonists & inhibitors*


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Protein Kinase Inhibitors
  • Protein-Tyrosine Kinases