We identified 103 consecutive patients who, 5 years after allogeneic transplantation for chronic myeloid leukaemia (CML), were in molecular remission (MR). The 103 patients were divided into three groups on the basis of reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) studies for BCR-ABL transcripts in the first 5 years post transplant: Group A comprised 63 patients who had been continuously PCR negative; Group B comprised 20 patients with one or more positive PCR result but only at a low level; and Group C comprised 20 patients who had fulfilled the criteria for molecular relapse, been treated with donor lymphocyte infusions (DLI) and had thereafter regained complete MR within the 5-year post-transplant period. The median follow-up for all 103 patients was 8.4 years from transplant (range 5-17.6 years). In group A only one patient relapsed at 9.2 years. In group B eight patients (40%) relapsed: six at molecular, one at cytogenetic and one haematological levels. The actuarial probabilities of survival at 10 years for patients in Groups A, B and C were 97.4%, 92.9% and 100% respectively; the probabilities of relapse were 3%, 54% and 0% respectively. We conclude that molecular studies during the first 5 years post transplant can help to predict long-term leukaemia-free survival and, possibly, cure of CML.
- Chronic myeloid leukaemia
- Reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction
- Stem cell transplant
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