Chronic myeloid leukaemia (CML) is a relatively rare form of blood cancer which occurs when the bone marrow produces too many white blood cells (myeloid cells) that are not fully developed and function poorly.1 The overproduction of these cells prevents the bone marrow from producing enough healthy blood cells. Around 748 new CML cases were diagnosed in the UK in 2014.2 It is more common in men than women and tends to occur in older people, with 48% of cases in the UK diagnosed in those aged 65 and over.2
Advances in treatment have helped to transform CML from a life-threatening disease to, in most cases, a chronic condition, and in the last decade mortality rates have decreased by a third in the UK.2 CML is now commonly treated with tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs), which help stop the production of the abnormal white blood cells.3 Around 85-95% of people treated with TKIs will live for at least five years after CML is diagnosed.1 Other therapies for CML include chemotherapy and in some cases, stem cell or bone marrow transplants.3
One of the new emerging goals of CML management for some patients is Treatment-free Remission (TFR). For those patients who respond very well to treatment, their leukaemic burden is reduced to a level at which they may able to stop treatment. In order to be considered for attempting TFR, a patient must have demonstrated a sustained deep molecular response prior to stopping TKI therapy. Discontinuation for TFR requires strict eligibility criteria and increased frequency of monitoring.4,5 The decision to stop TKI therapy should only be attempted in consultation with the patient’s clinician and under strict, frequent monitoring in a clinical setting.
At Novartis, we’re committed to helping improve the quality of life of patients with CML. We support innovative scientific research, and work with both patient advocacy groups and healthcare professionals to provide patients with up to date information about advances in the treatment of CML.
Ross, D. et al. Durable Treatment-free Remission (TFR) following frontline nilotinib (nil) in patients (pts) with chronic myeloid leukemia in chronic phase (CML-CP): ENESTfreedom 96-wk update. Poster presentation. Abstract #P601. 2017 European Hematology Association Congress in Madrid, Spain.
Hughes, T. et al. Durable Treatment-free Remission (TFR) after stopping second-line nilotinib (nil) in patients (pts) with chronic myeloid leukemia in chronic phase (CML-CP): ENESTop 96-wk update. Poster presentation. Abstract #P257. 2017 European Hematology Association Congress in Madrid, Spain.