For patients with chronic myeloid leukemia (CML), relapse-free remission with deep molecular response is possible, though the duration of tyrosine kinase inhibitor (TKI) treatment is important, according to a study presented at the European Hematology Association’s 21st congress.1

Researchers enrolled 868 patients in the chronic phase of CML to determine the optimal time for discontinuing TKI treatment. Of the enrolled patients, data from 772 were evaluated; time from diagnosis to TKI discontinuation varied from 36.7 months to 270.7 months, with a median of 92.7 months.

Molecular relapse-free survival was 62% at 6 months, 56% at 12 months, and 51% at 24 months. Duration of TKI treatment was positively correlated with the duration of a deep molecular response, defined as bcr-abl levels in blood samples being 4 logs lower than before treatment (MR4).

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Researchers involved in this EURO-SKI study plan a 3 year follow-up; the authors concluded that duration of TKI treatment and MR4 prior to discontinuation are pivotal for relapse-free survival. Imatinib made up 94% of first-line TKIs for patients enrolled in this study; dasatinib and nilotinib made up 2% and 4%, respectively.


  1. Richter J, Mahon F, Guilhot J, et al. Stopping tyrosine kinase inhibitors in a very large cohort of chronic myeloid leukemia patients: results of the EURO-SKI trial. Paper presented at: 21st Congress of the European Hematology Association; June 2016; Copenhagen, Denmark.