Quality of Life and Long-Term Therapy in Patients with Chronic Myeloid Leukemia.
Since the development of imatinib and other tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs), the prognosis for patients with chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) has markedly improved, such that most patients diagnosed with CML can now expect to live with their disease rather than die from it. However, most patients will require long-term treatment, which has deleterious effects on health-related quality of life. We review recent literature on drug-related adverse effects, long-term medication adherence, limitations to fertility and pregnancy, effects on cognitive function, ability to work, financial toxicity, pediatric populations, and treatment discontinuation. While patients with CML are fortunate to have excellent therapies available to control their disease, many are unable to lead normal lives, which challenges the notion that research is no longer needed in CML. Curing CML, i.e., no detectable disease and no need for daily medications, should remain the ultimate goal.
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