Treatments for Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia
What if TKIs Don’t Work?
If your CML doesn't slow down after you are treated with two or more TKIs, your doctor may switch you to another drug such as omacetaxine mepesuccinate (Synribo). It helps stop the growth of cancer cells. You get it as an injection.
You've got some other options:
Immunotherapy. It helps your immune system, your body's defense against germs, destroy the cancer. One example is a drug called interferon, which you take as an injection every day.
Chemotherapy. Itkills the abnormal cells in your body, but it doesn't work as well for CML as other types of leukemia. It's usually used if you're in the "blast" phase of the disease, a period when infections and bleeding are common and can be life-threatening.
Allogeneic stem cell transplant. It's the only potential cure. The procedure is usually done if you're young and don't have any medical issues besides CML. It replaces abnormal white blood cells with stem cells you get from a donor and lets your body make healthy blood cells. But there are serious risks, including a disease called GVHD (graft-versus-host disease). When this happens, the new stem cells attack your normal cells by mistake.
If other treatments don't work, an experimental drug may be an option. Researchers test new therapies in clinical trials, which could give you access to cutting-edge treatment not yet available to the general public. To find out more, talk to your doctor.