Although the outcome for Philadelphia positive (Ph +) acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) with conventional chemotherapy is poor, the outcome after a sibling-matched allogeneic bone marrow transplantation (BMT) seems to be significantly better. The surprising success of allogeneic BMT may be because of disease response to high-dose chemotherapy combined with a graft-versus-leukemia effect. However, less than 30% of patients have a matched related donor available, and some of them will be too old/not fit for conventional BMT. While young patients who do not have a matched related donor should be considered for matched unrelated donor (MUD) transplant, older patients may be treated with autologous stem cell transplantation (ASCT) or rarely considered for a low-intensity MUD transplant. The efficacy of autologous BMT compared with chemotherapy is still debatable, although the new tyrosine kinase inhibitor Imatinib may be used for pretransplant purging/post-transplant therapy, aiming to improve autologous and allogeneic BMT results. The advantage of low-intensity sib/MUD allograft compared with chemotherapy is not proven either and is currently under investigation. However, if shown to be curative, low-intensity allograft may significantly improve the outcome of older Ph + ALL patients, who are not eligible for conventional allograft.
- Allogeneic bone marrow transplantation
- Ph+ ALL