Life Expectancy of Patients With Chronic Myeloid Leukemia Approaches the Life Expectancy of the General Population

J Clin Oncol. 2016 Aug 20;34(24):2851-7. doi: 10.1200/JCO.2015.66.2866. Epub 2016 Jun 20.


Purpose: A dramatic improvement in the survival of patients with chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) occurred after the introduction of imatinib mesylate, the first tyrosine kinase inhibitor (TKI). We assessed how these changes affected the life expectancy of patients with CML and life-years lost as a result of CML between 1973 and 2013 in Sweden.

Materials and methods: Patients recorded as having CML in the Swedish Cancer Registry from 1973 to 2013 were included in the study and followed until death, censorship, or end of follow-up. The life expectancy and loss in expectation of life were predicted from a flexible parametric relative survival model.

Results: A total of 2,662 patients with CML were diagnosed between 1973 and 2013. Vast improvements in the life expectancy of these patients were seen over the study period; larger improvements were seen in the youngest ages. The great improvements in life expectancy translated into great reductions in the loss in expectation of life. Patients of all ages diagnosed in 2013 will, on average, lose < 3 life-years as a result of CML.

Conclusion: Imatinib mesylate and new TKIs along with allogeneic stem cell transplantation and other factors have contributed to the life expectancy in patients with CML approaching that of the general population today. This will be an important message to convey to patients to understand the impact of a CML diagnosis on their life. In addition, the increasing prevalence of patients with CML will have a great effect on future health care costs as long as continuous TKI treatment is required.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Humans
  • Leukemia, Myelogenous, Chronic, BCR-ABL Positive / drug therapy
  • Leukemia, Myelogenous, Chronic, BCR-ABL Positive / mortality*
  • Leukemia, Myelogenous, Chronic, BCR-ABL Positive / therapy*
  • Life Expectancy
  • Middle Aged
  • Protein Kinase Inhibitors / administration & dosage
  • Stem Cell Transplantation / statistics & numerical data
  • Sweden / epidemiology
  • Transplantation, Homologous


  • Protein Kinase Inhibitors