Although there are now fewer allo-SCTs performed for CML, leukemic relapse post transplant remains a persistent problem. To better define clinical and biological parameters determining postrelapse outcome, we studied 59 patients with CML relapsing after HLA-identical sibling allo-SCT between 1993 and 2008. Eighteen (30.5%) were transplanted in advanced phase and 41 (69.5%) in chronic phase. With a median follow-up from relapse of 7.9 years, 5-year post relapse survival (PRS) was 62%. Multivariate analysis found disease status at transplant, time to diagnosis of relapse from transplant and pretransplant tyrosine kinase inhibitor (TKI) use as significant factors associated with PRS. Analysis of BCR-ABL transcript expression in the hematopoietic progenitor compartment was performed in 36 patients (22 relapsed, 8 non-relapsed and 6 TKI alone controls). Patients with BCR-ABL expression in their early hematopoietic stem cell compartment (Lineage - CD34 + CD38 - CD90 +) had worse survival irrespective of the disease status. We conclude that disease status remains the strongest clinical prognostic factor for PRS in CML following allo-SCT. The persistence of BCR-ABL expression in the progenitor cell compartment in some patients after SCT emphasizes the need to target CML-leukemia stem cells.
ASJC Scopus subject areas