Allogeneic stem cell transplantation can cure about 40% of patients with chronic lymphocytic leukaemia. The early transplant related mortality with reduced intensity conditioning is low, but the late non relapse mortality is around 20% due to the high incidence of chronic graft versus host disease. The graft versus leukaemia effect is crucial for cure of chronic lymphocytic leukaemia after allogeneic stem cell transplantation and can be obtained by immune interventions. The place of allogeneic stem cell transplantation needs to be redefined in the era of novel targeted treatments (BCR pathway inhibitors and BCL2 inhibitors). Taking into consideration the promising results of BCR pathway inhibitors in genetically high-risk chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (with 17p deletion/TP53 mutation or complex karyotype) and fludarabine resistant chronic lymphocytic leukaemia, the current recommendation is to proceed with allogeneic stem cell transplantation in chronic lymphocytic leukaemia patients failing a BCR pathway inhibitor. The question when to proceed with allogeneic stem cell transplantation in responding patients remains unanswered. In the absence of randomised or prospective observational studies comparing novel agents to allogeneic stem cell transplantation the decision should be individualised and depend on the estimated transplantation risks and the patient’s desires.

(BELG J HEMATOL 2017;8(5):185–91)