What is the role of allogeneic bone marrow transplantation (BMT) in the treatment of chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML)?

Updated: May 23, 2021
  • Author: Emmanuel C Besa, MD; Chief Editor: Sara J Grethlein, MD, FACP  more...
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Allogeneic bone marrow transplantation (BMT) or stem cell transplantation is currently the only proven cure for CML. Ideally, it should be performed in the chronic phase of the disease rather than in the transformation phase or in blast crisis. Candidate patients should be offered the procedure if they have a matched or single–antigen-mismatched related donor available. In general, younger patients fare better than older patients.

BMT should be considered early in young patients (< 55 y) who have a matched sibling donor. [61, 62] All siblings should be typed for human leukocyte antigen (HLA)-A, HLA-B, and HLA-DR. If no match is available, the HLA type can be entered into a bone marrow registry for a completely matched unrelated donor.

Allogeneic BMT with matched unrelated donors has yielded very encouraging results in this disease. The procedure has a higher rate of early and late graft failures (16%), grade III-IV acute graft versus host disease (50%), and extensive chronic graft versus host disease (55%). The overall survival rate ranges from 31% to 43% for patients younger than 30 years and from 14% to 27% for older patients. Benefits and risks should be assessed carefully with each patient.

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