Life Expectancy Greatly Improved for Patients Diagnosed with CML Interview with:
Hannah Bower, MSc
Department of Medical Epidemiology and Biostatistics
Karolinska Institutet
Stockholm, Sweden What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Previously, if left untreated or with symptomatic treatment (up to the 1970’s), the median survival time of patients with chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) ranged between two and three years. Later, interferon alpha and allogeneic stem cell transplantation were introduced. However, improvements in survival were mainly seen in younger patients. Treatment with the tyrosine-kinase inhibitor (TKI) imatinib-mesylate (Glivec®, Gleevec®) began in Sweden in the early 2000 resulting in major survival improvements, with the exception of the old/very elderly.

We investigated if these improvements continued to 2013 and if improvements are now observed in the elderly via the life expectancy and the loss in expectation of life; the latter of these quantifies the change in the life expectancy due to a diagnosis of CML. The great improvements in life expectancy, especially in the youngest patients, translate into great reductions in the loss in expectation of life. The major factor contributing to the improvement in the elderly is likely the increasing use of TKIs. What should readers take away from your report?

Response: Recently diagnosed patients will on average lose less than three life years due to their diagnosis of CML, which can be seen as a great success of CML treatment. What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Response: To use more detailed registries such as the Swedish CML registry in order for future research to identify and quantify causal relationships. Thank you for your contribution to the community.


Life Expectancy of Patients With Chronic Myeloid Leukemia Approaches the Life Expectancy of the General Population
Hannah Bower, Magnus Björkholm,  Paul W. Dickman,  Martin Höglund, Paul C. Lambert,
and Therese M.-L. Andersson
JCO JCO662866; published online on June 20, 2016;

Note: Content is Not intended as medical advice. Please consult your health care provider regarding your specific medical condition and questions.

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Last Updated on June 22, 2016 by Marie Benz MD FAAD