Review Article

International Journal of Hematology

, Volume 89, Issue 1, pp 14-23

First online:

Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.

Chronic myeloid leukemia in Asia

  • Wing Y. AuAffiliated withDepartment of Medicine, Queen Mary Hospital, University of Hong Kong
  • , Priscilla B. CaguioaAffiliated withUST Hospital and St Luke’s Medical Center, University of Santo Tomas Faculty of Medicine and Surgery
  • , Charles ChuahAffiliated withDepartment of Hematology, Singapore General Hospital and Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School
  • , Szu Chun HsuAffiliated withDepartment of Laboratory Medicine, National Taiwan University Hospital
  • , Saengsuree JootarAffiliated withDepartment of Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Ramathibodi Hospital
  • , Dong-Wook KimAffiliated withDivision of Hematology, CML Clinical Research Institute, 3rd floor, St Mary’s Hospital, The Catholic University of Korea Email author 
  • , Il-Young KweonAffiliated withDivision of Hematology, CML Clinical Research Institute, 3rd floor, St Mary’s Hospital, The Catholic University of Korea
  • , William M. O’NeilAffiliated withBioMedCom Consultants, Inc.
  • , Tapan K. SaikiaAffiliated withPrince Aly Khan Hospital and Jaslok Hospital
    • , Jianxiang WangAffiliated withDepartment of Clinical Hematology, State Key Laboratory of Experimental Hematology, Institute of Hematology and Blood Disease, Hospital of the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences, Peking Union Medical College


Chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) in Asia has an incidence rather lower than in Western countries yet tends to afflict a younger population. As in the West, imatinib mesylate (IM, Glivec) has supplanted busulphan, hydroxyurea and interferon-α as first-line treatment. Its use has resulted in a dramatic decline in the number of hematopoietic stem cell transplantations (HSCT) performed. Although it is expensive, IM induces a complete cytogenetic response in 60–90% of newly diagnosed patients, and up to 10% for those in blastic phase. The standard dose of 400 mg is well tolerated by most patients, although adverse events have been observed, including drug-induced cytopenia. Through the Glivec International Patient Assistance Program, the majority of CML patients has access to IM and can expect prolonged survival, even in the absence of HSCT. However, just as in Western countries, resistance to imatinib has emerged in Asian countries. They will require the novel tyrosine kinase inhibitors (dasatinib, nilotinib) becoming available through either clinical trials or market approval. This review examines the available data on CML in China, Hong Kong, India, the Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan and Thailand.


Epidemiology Treatment Chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) Asia