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© Jorg Greuel;

Chronic myelogenous leukemia – survival has significantly improved

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    May 2017

    Since 2001, chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML) treatments have resulted in improved survival rates in North America. This success reported here suggests that those diagnosed with this hematologic neoplasm could be insurable in the near future. 

    Earlier forms of treatment for CML were either palliative (chemotherapeutic) or entailed high-risk hematopoietic cell transplantation. Thankfully, the study of tumor genetics has enabled more target-specific anti-cancer treatments to be produced, which avoid many of the adverse side effects associated with traditional anti-cancer therapies. Today, Tyrosine kinase inhibiter therapy (TKI) is used in early stages of CML. While it is not a cure and, in most cases, it will need to be continued indefinitely, it is promising a higher rate of survival. 

    Underwriters should know that this therapy not only promises significant survival, but individuals receiving this treatment demonstrate a durable response after four years of TKI. While this therapy is targeted, it does not correct the root cause of CML which we know lies in an abnormality in the BCR-ABL1 gene. This report cautions that there is still much to be understood about this cancer and since TKI is a fairly new treatment, its results are not yet proven with longitudinal study. That said, TKI therapy has been successful enough for multiple generations of treatment, giving hope and options to those diagnosed in the early stages of CML.    

    Contact the Author Dr. Robert Lund, Vice President & Medical Director, Munich Re, US (Life)

    Learn more about the genesis of chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML), and a relatively new therapy that is presenting a promising case for insurability for those diagnosed early.