BACKGROUND: Tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs) have improved the survival of patients with chronic myeloid leukaemia (CML). TKIs can be successfully discontinued in some CML patients who have achieved a stable deep molecular response.

OBJECTIVE: The purpose of this article is twofold. On the one hand, this review provides an overview of current use and discontinuation of TKIs in patients with CML. On the other hand, we retrospectively investigated the use and possible discontinuation of TKIs in a specific patient population with CML at the University Hospital of Leuven.

METHODS: A literature search was carried out in May 2019 to identify all relevant articles. Articles were searched on PubMed, Embase, Web of Science and Cochrane Library. Additionally, the articles found in the reference list were used.

RESULTS: This review included ten articles (two on imatinib, four on dasatinib, four on nilotinib), with 970 patients. Treatment free remission (TFR) ratio varied from 41–68% after one year. One study published the results of TFR after three years. In UZ Leuven, the TFR ratio was 60% after 106 weeks.

CONCLUSION: Tyrosine kinase inhibitor (TKI) therapy can be safely terminated in selected patient groups. About half of the patients retain the molecular remission after discontinuation of TKI therapy.

(BELG J HEMATOL 2020;12(2):52-8)