How I treat childhood CML

Andolina, J. R.; Neudorf, S. M.; Corey, S. J.

Blood. 2012 Jan 3; 119(8):1821-30

Abstract

Chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) is composed of 3% of pediatric leukemias, making evidence-based recommendations difficult. Imatinib has revolutionized the treatment for adult CML by eliminating allogeneic stem cell transplantation for almost all patients in chronic phase. Shown effective in pediatric CML, imatinib and successive tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKI) have provided more therapeutic options. Because stem cell transplantation has been better tolerated in children and adolescents, the decision to treat by either TKI or transplantation is controversial. We present a recent case of a 12-month-old boy diagnosed with BCR-ABL(+) CML to highlight the controversies in treatment recommendations. We review the pediatric stem cell transplantation outcomes as well as the pediatric experience with imatinib and other TKIs. Finally, we compare the side effects as well as costs associated with allogeneic stem cell transplantation versus TKI therapy. We recommend that frontline therapy for pediatric CML in chronic phase is TKI therapy without transplantation. Patients in accelerated or blast crisis or who fail to reach landmarks on TKIs either because of intolerance or resistance should pursue stem cell transplantation. Although we recommend adopting adult clinical experience to guide therapeutic decision making, the issues of infant CML, drug formulation, pharmacokinetics, and adolescent compliance merit clinical investigation.

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