Hematopoietic Stem-Cell Transplantation for Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia

Number 8.01.30

Effective Date February 10, 2015

Revision Date(s) 02/10/15; 02/10/14; 02/11/13; 02/14/12; 08/09/11; 01/12/10; 11/11/08;10/14/08; 10/09/07; 11/14/06; 01/10/06; 10/12/04; 08/12/03; 06/17/03; 01/14/03; 01/01/00

Replaces N/A


Allogeneic hematopoietic stem-cell transplantation (HSCT) using a myeloablative conditioning regimen may be considered medically necessary as a treatment of chronic myelogenous leukemia.

Allogeneic hematopoietic stem-cell transplantation using a reduced-intensity conditioning regimen may be considered medically necessary as a treatment of chronic myelogenous leukemia in patients who meet clinical criteria for an allogeneic HSCT but who are not considered candidates for a myeloablative conditioning allogeneic HSCT.

Autologous HSCT is investigational as a treatment of chronic myelogenous leukemia.

Related Policies


Placental and Umbilical Cord Blood as a Source of Stem Cells


Hematopoietic Stem-Cell Transplantation for Acute Myeloid Leukemia


Hematopoietic Stem-Cell Transplantation for Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia

Policy Guidelines

Some patients for whom a conventional myeloablative allotransplant could be curative may be considered candidates for reduced-intensity conditioning allogeneic hematopoietic stem-cell transplantation (HSCT). These include those patients whose age (typically >60 years) or comorbidities (e.g., liver or kidney dysfunction, generalized debilitation, prior intensive chemotherapy, low Karnofsky Performance Status) preclude use of a standard myeloablative conditioning regimen.

For patients who qualify for a myeloablative allogeneic HSCT on the basis of clinical status, either a myeloablative or reduced-intensity conditioning regimen may be considered medically necessary.


Chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML) is a hematopoietic stem-cell disorder that is characterized by the presence of a chromosomal abnormality called the Philadelphia chromosome, which results from reciprocal translocation between the long arms of chromosomes 9 and 22.

Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia


CML is a hematopoietic stem-cell disorder that is characterized by the presence of a chromosomal abnormality called the Philadelphia chromosome, which results from reciprocal translocation between the long arms of chromosomes 9 and 22. This cytogenetic change results in constitutive activation of BCR-ABL, a tyrosine kinase (TK) that stimulates unregulated cell proliferation, inhibition of apoptosis, genetic instability, and perturbation of the interactions between CML cells and the bone marrow stroma only in malignant cells. CML accounts for about 15% of newly diagnosed cases of leukemia in adults and occurs in about 1 to 2 cases per 100,000 adults. (1)

The natural history of the disease consists of an initial (indolent) chronic phase, lasting a median of 3 years, which typically transforms into an accelerated phase, followed by a "blast crisis," which is usually the terminal event. Most patients present in chronic phase, often with nonspecific symptoms that are secondary to anemia and splenomegaly. CML is diagnosed based on the presence of the Philadelphia chromosome abnormality by routine cytogenetics, or by detection of abnormal BCR-ABL products by fluorescence in situ hybridization or molecular studies, in the setting of persistent unexplained leukocytosis. Conventional-dose chemotherapy regimens used for chronic-phase disease can induce multiple remissions and delay the onset of blast crisis to a median of 4 to 6 years. However, successive remissions are usually shorter and more difficult to achieve than their predecessors.

Therapy for Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia

Historically, the only curative therapy for CML in blast phase was HSCT, and HSCT was used more widely earlier in the disease process given the lack of other therapies for chronic phase CML. Drug therapies for chronic phase CML were limited to nonspecific agents including busulfan, hydroxyurea, and interferon-alpha. (1)

Imatinib mesylate (Gleevec®), a selective inhibitor of the abnormal BCR-ABL TK protein, is considered the treatment of choice for newly diagnosed CML. While imatinib can be highly effective in suppressing CML in most patients, it is not usually curative and is ineffective in 20% to 30%, initially or due to emergence of BCR-ABL mutations that cause resistance to the drug. Even so, the overall survival (OS) of patients who present in chronic phase is greater than 95% at 2 years and 80% to 90% at 5 years. (2)

Two other TKIs (dasatinib, nilotinib) have received marketing approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat CML as front-line therapy or following failure or patient intolerance of imatinib. Two additional TKIs, bosutinib and ponatinib, have been approved for use for patients resistant or intolerant to prior therapy.

For patients who progress on imatinib, the therapeutic options include increasing the imatinib dose, changing to another TKI, or allo-HSCT. Detection of BCR-ABL mutations may be important in determining an alternative TKI; the presence of T315I mutation is associated with resistance to all TKIs except ponitinib and may indicate the need for allo-HSCT or an experimental therapy. TKIs have been associated with long-term remissions; if progression occurs after exhausting TKI therapy, allo-HSCT is generally indicated and offers the potential for cure.

Hematopoietic Stem-Cell Transplant


Hematopoietic stem cells may be obtained from the transplant recipient (autologous HSCT) or from a donor (allogeneic HSCT). They can be harvested from bone marrow, peripheral blood, or umbilical cord blood shortly after delivery of neonates. Although cord blood is an allogeneic source, the stem cells in it are antigenically “naive” and thus are associated with a lower incidence of rejection or graft-versus-host disease (GVHD). Cord blood is discussed in greater detail in another policy. (See Related Policies.)

Immunologic compatibility between infused hematopoietic stem cells and the recipient is not an issue in autologous HSCT. However, immunologic compatibility between donor and patient is a critical factor for achieving a good outcome of allogeneic HSCT. Compatibility is established by typing of human leukocyte antigens (HLAs) using cellular, serologic, or molecular techniques. HLA refers to the tissue type expressed at the HLA A, B, and DR loci on each arm of chromosome 6. Depending on the disease being treated, an acceptable donor will match the patient at all or most of the HLA loci.

Conditioning for HSCT

The conventional (“classical”) practice of allogeneic HSCT involves administration of cytotoxic agents (e.g., cyclophosphamide, busulfan) with or without total body irradiation at doses sufficient to destroy endogenous hematopoietic capability in the recipient. The beneficial treatment effect in this procedure is due to a combination of initial eradication of malignant cells and subsequent graft-versus-malignancy (GVM) effect that develops after engraftment of allogeneic stem cells within the patient’s bone marrow space. While the slower GVM effect is considered to be the potentially curative component, it may be overwhelmed by extant disease without the use of pretransplant conditioning. However, intense conditioning regimens are limited to patients who are sufficiently fit medically to tolerate substantial adverse effects that include pre-engraftment opportunistic infections secondary to loss of endogenous bone marrow function and organ damage and failure caused by the cytotoxic drugs. Furthermore, in any allogeneic HSCT, immune suppressant drugs are required to minimize graft rejection and GVHD, which also increases susceptibility of the patient to opportunistic infections. The immune reactivity between donor T cells and malignant cells that is responsible for the GVM effect also leads to acute and chronic GVHD.

The success of autologous HSCT is predicated on the ability of cytotoxic chemotherapy with or without radiation to eradicate cancerous cells from the blood and bone marrow. This permits subsequent engraftment and repopulation of bone marrow space with presumably normal hematopoietic stem cells obtained from the patient before undergoing bone marrow ablation. As a consequence, autologous HSCT is typically performed as consolidation therapy when the patient’s disease is in complete remission. Patients who undergo autologous HSCT are susceptible to chemotherapy-related toxicities and opportunistic infections before engraftment, but not GVHD.

RIC for Allogeneic HSCT

RIC refers to the pretransplant use of lower doses or less intense regimens of cytotoxic drugs or radiation than are used in conventional full-dose myeloablative conditioning treatments. The goal of RIC is to reduce disease burden but also to minimize as much as possible associated treatment-related morbidity and nonrelapse mortality (NRM) in the period during which the beneficial GVM effect of allogeneic transplantation develops. Although the definition of RIC remains arbitrary, with numerous versions employed, all seek to balance the competing effects of NRM and relapse due to residual disease. RIC regimens can be viewed as a continuum in effects, from nearly totally myeloablative, to minimally myeloablative with lymphoablation, with intensity tailored to specific diseases and patient condition. Patients who undergo RIC with allogeneic HSCT initially demonstrate donor cell engraftment and bone marrow mixed chimerism. Most will subsequently convert to full-donor chimerism, which may be supplemented with donor lymphocyte infusions to eradicate residual malignant cells. For the purposes of this Policy, the term “reduced-intensity conditioning” will refer to all conditioning regimens intended to be nonmyeloablative, as opposed to fully myeloablative (conventional) regimens.

For CML, RIC regimens were initially used to extend the use of allogeneic HSCT to the estimated 70% of CML patients who were ineligible for myeloablative conditioning regimens because of advanced age or comorbidities. The use of RIC and allogeneic HSCT is of particular interest for treatment of CML given the relatively pronounced susceptibility of this malignancy to the graft versus leukemia (GVL) effect of allogeneic hematopoietic progenitor cells following their engraftment in the host.


Medical policies are systematically developed guidelines that serve as a resource for Company staff when determining coverage for specific medical procedures, drugs or devices. Coverage for medical services is subject to the limits and conditions of the member benefit plan. Members and their providers should consult the member benefit booklet or contact a customer service representative to determine whether there are any benefit limitations applicable to this service or supply. This medical policy does not apply to Medicare Advantage.

Benefit Application

The following consideration may supersede this policy:

  • State mandates requiring coverage for autologous bone marrow transplantation offered as part of clinical trials of autologous bone marrow transplantation approved by the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
  • Some plans may participate in voluntary programs offering coverage for patients participating in NIH-approved clinical trials of cancer chemotherapies, including autologous bone marrow transplantation.


This policy was originally created in December 1999 and has been updated regularly with searches of the MEDLINE database. The most recent literature review was performed through November 3, 2014. Following is the summary of the key literature to date.

Allogeneic Hematopoietic Stem-cell Transplantation

Allogeneic hematopoietic stem-cell transplantation (HSCT) is the only known potentially curative therapy for chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML) although long term stable molecular remissions post extended duration TKI use have been observed. HSCT became a standard of treatment for CML in the 1980s when the graft-versus-leukemia (GVL) effect was shown to be the critical factor for long-term disease control. (3) Studies in patients with chronic phase disease who received a human leukocyte antigen (HLA)‒matched sibling donor transplant had a 45% to 75% probability of long-term disease-free survival, while those transplanted with more advanced disease had a 15% to 40% long-term survival. (4) Young, good-risk patients transplanted early in the chronic phase from HLA-matched but unrelated donors had a 40% to 60% probability of long-term survival, although it is lower than that of similar patients transplanted from matched sibling donors. (5,6)

CML was once the most common malignancy for which allogeneic HSCT was performed, but by 2005, it was in eighth place among hematologic transplantation indications. A retrospective analysis of data from the Center for International Blood and Marrow Transplant Research Center showed that transplantation for CML was in decline before U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval of imatinib in 2001. (7) Subsequently, long-term follow-up results from the International Randomized Study of Interferon and STI 571 (IRIS) of imatinib mesylate, plus the availability of two additional approved tyrosine kinase inhibitor (TKI) agents (nilotinib, dasatinib), have caused modification of the timing of application of allogeneic HSCT. (8-10) This procedure now is typically delayed in patients with newly diagnosed CML, who will receive a TKI agent as front-line treatment. Allogeneic HSCT may be used early in the disease course when a complete molecular response to the drug fails or is not achieved soon after starting TKI therapy, or after relapse.

HSCT With Nonmyeloablative Conditioning

Techniques for allogeneic HSCT have continued to develop, with important advancements in the use of nonmyeloablative or reduced-intensity conditioning (RIC) preparative regimens. Overall, among 9 studies compiled in a recent review, outcomes achieved with RIC allogeneic transplants have been similar to those with conventional allotransplants, with overall survival (OS) rates ranging from 35% at 2.5 years to 85% at 5 years among patients in chronic phase 1 at transplant. (11) Among the studies included in this review, treatment-related mortality or nonrelapse mortality (NRM) ranged from 0% to 29% at 1 year. In the largest experience, a retrospective European Group for Blood and Marrow Transplantation study of 186 patients, OS was 54% at 3 years using a variety of RIC regimens in patients in chronic phase 1 (n=118), chronic phase 2 (n=26), acute phase (n=30), and blast crisis (n=12). (12) Among patients transplanted in the first chronic phase, OS was 69% at 3 years.

RIC regimens have many of the same limitations as standard-intensity conditioning: relapse, graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) (particularly chronic GVHD), and mortality from treatment-related causes other than myelotoxicity. However, in the absence of prospective, comparative, randomized trials, only indirect comparisons can be made between the relative clinical benefits and harms associated with myeloablative and RIC regimens with allogeneic HSCT. Comparison of study results is further compromised by heterogeneity among patients, treatments, and outcome measures. Nonetheless, clinical evidence suggests outcomes in CML are similar with myeloablative and RIC allogeneic HSCT. (8,11,12) Thus, RIC allogeneic HSCT should be considered medically necessary for CML patients who would otherwise be expected to benefit from an allogeneic HSCT.

HSCT in the Context of TKI Therapy for CML

The advent of TKI therapy has altered the treatment paradigm for CML such that most patients are treated initially with a TKI until disease progresses. While progression may occur within months of starting a TKI, this may be delayed for years, as shown by the results of the IRIS trial (10) and other studies. (8,9) With the addition of 2 or 3 other TKIs (nilotinib, dasatinib, and bosutinib) plus the possibility of effective dose escalation with imatinib to override resistance, it is possible to maintain a typical CML patient past the upper age limit (usually 50-55 years) at which a myeloablative allogeneic HSCT is considered an option. (10,13,14) These patients would be eligible for an RIC allogeneic HSCT.

The optimal timing for HSCT in the context of TKI therapy is still being evaluated. Liu et al. evaluated outcomes for chronic-phase CML patients who underwent HSCT after imatinib failure. (15) The authors retrospectively evaluated 105 patients with newly-diagnosed chronic-phase CML seen at a single institution from 1999 to 2011. Sixty-six patients received first-line imatinib therapy, 26 (treated before 2003) received interferon followed by imatinib, and 13 received front-line allo-HSCT with curative intent. Twenty-two (21.0%) patients received allo-HSCT overall, including 13 as front-line therapy and 9 following imatinib failure. Compared with those who received front-line allo-HSCT, those who underwent HSCT following imatinib failure had higher European Group for Blood and Bone Marrow Transplantation (EBMT) risk score (p=0.03). Among patients receiving allo-HSCT (n=22), patients with imatinib failure and disease progression had a significantly worse OS (p=0.015) compared with those receiving allo-HSCT as front-line therapy (median follow-up, 134 months, range, 6-167 months). One patient died of relapse and 1 of chronic GVHD among patients receiving front-line allo-HSCT, with a 3-year survival rate of 91.7% (95% confidence interval [CI], 29 to 38 months).

Zhao et al. reported outcomes for 12 patients with CML with disease progression on imatinib who were treated with either dasatinib or nilotinib followed by allo-HSCT at a single center. (16) Four patients died: 1 of primary disease and 3 of transplant-related complications. After a median follow-up of 28 months (range, 12-37 months) after HSCT, 8/12 (66.7%) patients were alive, including 7 with complete molecular remission.

Lee et al. attempted to identify predictors of outcomes in patients who underwent allogeneic HSCT for CML in chronic phase. (17) Ninety-seven patients were included, 47 of whom were TKI-naïve and 50 of whom had received 1 or more TKI therapy before HSCT. Most (N=48) of the TKI-recipients had received imatinib as initial therapy; 2 had received second-generation TKIs (dasatinib, bosutinib). After a median follow-up of 115.8 months, 4-year OS and event-free survival were 80.4% and 58.8%, respectively. Multivariate analysis showed that there were no differences in survival outcomes based on prior TKI therapy. However, in multivariate models, age at transplant was significantly associated with relapse and transplant-related mortality, while graft source (peripheral blood vs bone marrow) was significantly associated with event-free survival. The authors conclude that their findings confirm prior researchers’ findings that pretreatment with imatinib does not affect survival outcomes after allogeneic HSCT for CML.

In addition to being used before HSCT, TKI therapy may be used after HSCT to prevent or treat disease relapse. Egan et al conducted a retrospective analysis of patients at a single institution who underwent allogeneic HSCT for CML and Philadelphia chromosome-positive acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) at a single institution with detectable BCR-ABL transcripts and RNA available for sequencing of the ABL kinase domain in both the pre- and post-HSCT settings to evaluate the impact of pre-HSCT mutations in the ABL kinase domain on post-HSCT relapse. (18) Among 95 patients with CML with available polymerase chain reaction transcripts, 10 (10.5%) were found to have pre-HSCT ABL kinase mutations known to confer resistance to TKIs. Of those with CML, 88.4% underwent myeloablative chemotherapy and 11.6% underwent nonmyeloablative chemotherapy. Twenty-nine CML patients received post-HSCT TKIs, 19 (65.5%) for prophylaxis and 10 (34.5%) for treatment of refractory or relapsed disease. In 9 (64.2%) of the 14 patients with pre-HSCT mutations (both CML and Philadelphia chromosome –positive ALL), the same mutation conferring TKI resistance was also detectable after HSCT. Among the 14 with pre-HSCT mutations, 8 (57.1%) received a TKI in the post-HSCT setting, and 7 (50%) demonstrated post-HSCT refractory disease or relapse. Of the 7 with relapsed disease, 5 had been given a predictably ineffective TKI based on mutation status in the first 100 days after HSCT.

Section Summary

Allogeneic HSCT is accepted as a standard treatment in CML, although the use of targeted TKI therapy has allowed many patients who would previously have required HSCT to forestall or avoid HSCT. Evidence suggests that HSCT following nonmyeloablative conditioning regimens has similar outcomes to HSCT after myeloablative conditioning regimens. Although research into the optimal timing of HSCT in the setting of TKI therapy is limited, the available evidence suggests that pre-treatment with TKIs does not worsen outcomes after HSCT.

Autologous HSCT

A major limitation in the use of autologous HSCT in patients with CML is a high probability that leukemic cells will be infused back into the patient. However, it is recognized that many CML patients still have normal marrow stem cells. Techniques used to isolate and expand this normal clone of cells have included ex vivo purging, long-term culture, and immunophenotype selection. (19) Even without such techniques, there have been isolated case reports of partial cytogenetic remissions after autologous HSCT, and one study has suggested that patients undergoing such therapy may have improved survival compared with historical controls. (4)

Another article summarized the results of 200 consecutive autologous transplants using purged or unpurged marrow from 8 different transplant centers. (19) Of the 200 patients studied, 125 were alive at a median follow-up of 42 months. Of the 142 transplanted in chronic phase, the median survival had not been reached at the time of publication, while the median survival was 35.9 months for those transplanted during an accelerated phase. Other data consist of small, single institution case series using a variety of techniques to enrich the population of normal stem cells among the harvested cells. (4) Additional reports of small, uncontrolled studies with a total of 182 patients (range, 15-41 patients) given autotransplants for CML included patient populations that varied across the studies. Some focused on newly diagnosed patients or those in the first year since diagnosis. (21,22) Others focused on patients who did not respond to or relapsed after initial treatment using interferon alfa. (23,24) Finally, some focused on patients transplanted in the late chronic phase (25) or after transformation to accelerated phase or blast crisis. (26) Although some patients achieved complete or partial molecular remissions and long-term disease-free survival, these studies do not permit conclusions free from the influence of patient selection bias. All autotransplanted patients included in these reports were treated before imatinib mesylate or newer TKIs became available. Because these agents have been shown to induce major hematologic and, less often, cytogenetic remissions, even among patients in accelerated phase and blast crisis, future studies of autotransplants for CML may focus on patients who fail or become resistant to imatinib mesylate. Alternatively, it may be incorporated into combination regimens used for high-dose therapy. (27)

Ongoing and Unpublished Clinical Trials

A search of online database in November 2014 identified a number of phase 2 and 3 trials evaluating HSCT for CML, many of which are evaluating various conditioning regimens, stem-cell sources, and mobilization protocols. The following are phase 3 trials of HSCT for CML currently underway:

  • Graft-Versus-Host Disease Prophylaxis in Treating Patients With Hematologic Malignancies Undergoing Unrelated Donor Peripheral Blood Stem-Cell Transplant (NCT01231412) – This is a randomized, open-label trial to evaluate the use of total body irradiation together with fludarabine phosphate, cyclosporine, mycophenolate mofetil, or sirolimus before donor peripheral blood stem-cell transplant in the prevention of GVHD for patients with a variety of hematologic malignancies. The primary outcome is the rate of acute grade II to IV GHVD, exclusive of GVHD that occurs as a result of alterations to immunosuppressive therapy in response to relapse or progression. Enrollment is planned for 300 subjects; the estimated study completion date is September 2015.
  • Imatinib Mesylate With or Without Interferon Alfa or Cytarabine Compared With Interferon Alfa Followed by Donor Stem-Cell Transplant in Treating Patients With Newly Diagnosed Chronic Phase Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia (NCT00055874) – This is a randomized phase 3 trial to compare imatinib mesylate with or without interferon alfa or cytarabine with interferon alfa followed by donor stem-cell transplant for patients with newly diagnosed CML. Primary outcome measures are OS, risk group-dependent survival, progression-free survival, and hematologic, cytogenetic, and molecular response rates. Enrollment is planned for 1600 subjects; the estimated study completion date is December 2016.
  • A Phase III Study of Fludarabine and Busulfan Versus Fludarabine, Busulfan and Low-Dose Total Body Irradiation in Patients Receiving an Allogeneic Hematopoietic Stem-Cell Transplant (NCT01366612) – This is a randomized, open-label trial to compare the addition of total body irradiation with standard pre-transplant conditioning in patients undergoing allogeneic HSCT for a variety of hematologic malignancies, including CML. Enrollment is planned for 54 subjects; the estimated study completion date is December 2014.

Summary of Evidence

Allogeneic hematopoietic stem-cell transplant (HSCT) is accepted as a standard treatment in chronic myelogenous leukemia. However, introduction of The tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs) imatinib, dasatinib, nilotinib, bosutinib, and ponatinib, has significantly changed the practice of HSCT for CML. TKIs have replaced HSCT as initial therapy in patients with chronic phase CML. However, a significant proportion of cases fails to respond to TKIs, develop resistance to them, or become unable to tolerate TKIs and go on to allogeneic HSCT. In addition, allogeneic HSCT represents the only potentially curative option for those patients in accelerated or blast phase. The currently-available evidence suggests that TKI-pretreatment does not lead to worse outcomes if HSCT is needed. Allogeneic HSCT using a myeloablative conditioning regimen may be considered medically necessary as a treatment of CML. In addition, allogeneic HSCT using a reduced-intensity conditioning regimen may be considered medically necessary as a treatment of CML in patients who meet clinical criteria for an allogeneic HSCT but who are not considered candidates for a myeloablative conditioning allogeneic HSCT.

Practice Guidelines and Position Statements

National Comprehensive Cancer Network Guidelines

The 2015 National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) Guidelines (v1.2015) recommend allogeneic bone marrow transplant as an alternative treatment option only for high-risk settings. Relevant recommendations are:

  • The use of first-line treatment with allogeneic HSCT for:
  • Patients presenting with blast phase at diagnosis.
  • Patients with T315I and other BCR-ABL1 mutations that are resistant to all TKIs.
  • Rare patients intolerant to all TKIs.
  • For chronic phase CML:
  • Allogeneic HSCT is recommended for patients with T315I mutations that are resistant to all TKIs.
  • Evaluation for HSCT is recommended if the response milestones are not achieved, as indicated by:
  • BCR-ABL1/ABL1 >10% or lack of partial cytogenetic response (PCyR) at 3 and 6 months.
  • Minor or no cytogenic response at 12 months.
  • Less than complete cytogenetic response (CCyR) at 18 months.
  • Cytogeneic relapse at 12 or 18 months.
  • For advanced phase CML, allogeneic HSCT should be considered for patients with AP-CML or BP-CML.

Nonmyeloablative allogeneic HSCT is recommended only within a clinical trial.

Autologous bone marrow transplant for CML is not addressed in the NCCN guidelines.

European LeukemiaNet Guidelines

In 2013, European LeukemiaNet issued updated guidelines for the management of CML.28 These guidelines recommend the use of allogeneic HSCT in the following situations:

  • For chronic phase treatment:
  • Consider HSCT as second-line therapy after failure of nilotinib or dasatinib as first-line therapy.
  • Recommend HSCT in all eligible patients as third-line therapy after failure of or intolerance to 2 TKIs.
  • Consider HSCT at any point if T315I mutation.
  • For accelerated or blast phase in newly-diagnosed, TKI-naïve patients:
  • Begin imatinib or dasatinib.
  • Recommend HSCT for all blast phase patients and for accelerated phase patients who do not achieve an optimal response
  • For accelerated or blast phase as progression from chronic phase in TKI-pretreated patients: recommend HSCT for all patients (after initiation of one of the TKIs that was not previously used or ponatinib in the case of T315I mutations).

U.S. Preventive Services Task Force Recommendations

Not applicable.

Medicare National Coverage

There is no national coverage determination (NCD). In the absence of an NCD, coverage decisions are left to the discretion of local Medicare carriers.


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  26. Pigneux A, Faberes C, Boiron JM, et al. Autologous stem cell transplantation in chronic myeloid leukemia: a single center experience. Bone Marrow Transplant. Aug 1999; 24(3):265-270. PMID 10455364
  27. Mauro MJ, Deininger MW. Chronic myeloid leukemia in 2006: a perspective. Haematologica. Feb 2006; 91(2):152. PMID 16461297
  28. Baccarani M, Deininger MW, Rosti G, et al. European LeukemiaNet recommendations for the management of chronic myeloid leukemia: 2013. Blood. Aug 8 2013;122(6):872-884. PMID 23803709BlueCross BlueShield Association (BCBSA) Medical Policy Reference Manual, Hematopoietic Stem-Cell Transplantation for Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia. Policy No. 8.01.30, 2013.







Blood-derived hematopoietic progenitor stem cell harvesting for transplantation, per collection; allogeneic






thawing of previously frozen harvest, without washing



with washing



specific Cell depletion and harvest, T-cell depletion



tumor cell depletion



red blood cell removal



platelet depletion



plasma (volume) depletion



cell concentration in plasma, mononuclear, or buffy coat layer



Bone marrow harvesting for transplantation; allogeneic






Bone marrow or blood-derived peripheral stem cell transplantation; allogeneic






allogeneic donor lymphocyte infusions



Human leukocyte antigen (HLA) crossmatch, non-cytotoxic (e.g., using flow cytometry); first serum sample or dilution



Human leukocyte antigen (HLA) crossmatch, non-cytotoxic (e.g., using flow cytometry); each additional serum sample or sample dilution (List separately in addition to primary procedure)



Cord blood harvesting for transplantation, allogeneic



Cord blood derived stem cell transplantation, allogeneic



Bone marrow or blood-derived stem cells (peripheral or umbilical), allogeneic or autologous, harvesting, transplantation and related complications; including: pheresis and cell preparation/storage; marrow ablative therapy; drugs, supplies, hospitalization with outpatient follow-up; medical/surgical, diagnostic, emergency, and rehabilitative service; and the number of days of pre- and post-transplant care in the global definition

Type of Service



Place of Service

Inpatient / Outpatient








Add to Therapy Section - New Policy — replaces 8.01.15, original master policy on high-dose chemotherapy for miscellaneous malignancies. However, policy statement is unchanged.


Replace Policy - Policy updated, new references added; no change in policy statement.


Replace Policy - Update CPT codes only.


Replace Policy - Reviewed and recommended for adoption without any changes by Company Oncology Advisory Panel July 22, 2003.


Replace Policy - Policy reviewed with literature search; no change in policy statement. Approved by OAP 10/29/04, returning to MPC.


Replace Policy - Policy reviewed with literature search; no change to policy statement.


Disclaimer and Scope updates - No other changes.


Replace Policy - Policy reviewed and recommended by OAP 10/26/06 without changes.


Replace Policy - BCBSA updated; Policy reviewed with literature search; policy statement unchanged; new references added.


Replace Policy - Policy updated with literature search; no change to the policy statement. References added.


Replace Policy - Policy extensively updated with literature search. Policy statement updated to remove “HDC” and replaced with “SCT”, this is reflected within the title and body of the policy. Investigational statement added to include Autologous SCT as a treatment of chronic myelogenous leukemia. References added. Reviewed and recommended for approval by the Oncology Advisory Panel, February 21, 2008.


Replace Policy - Policy updated extensively with literature review. Policy statements revised to consider RIC allogeneic SCT as medically necessary in specific conditions. References added.


Code Update - New 2010 codes added.


Replace Policy – Policy updated with literature search; no change to policy statements. References 11-14 added; reference 23 updated. ICD-10 codes added to policy. Related Policy titles updated.


Related Policies updated; codes 38220 and 38221 removed.


Replace Policy – Policy updated with literature search; no change to policy statements. References 15-17 added. Code 38232 added; code 38204 listed as Medicare Status B, non-reimbursable.


Minor update: Related Policies updated; 8.01.17 replaced 8.01.507 effective June 12, 2012.


Update Related Policies titles for: 8.01.17, 8.01.22, 8.01.29, 8.01.31, and 8.01.514.


Update Coding Section – ICD-10 codes are now effective 10/01/2014.


Replace policy. A literature review through October 2012 did not prompt any changes to the rationale section. Clarifications added to the practice guidelines and position statements. No new references added. Policy statement unchanged. Update title to Related Policy 8.01.21.


The following codes were removed from the policy, as they were not suspending and just informational: CPT 38204, HCPCS J9000-J9999 and Q0083-Q0085.


Update Related Policies. Change title to 8.01.35.


Update Related Policies. Change title to 8.01.31.


Update Related Policies. Remove 8.01.31 as it was archived.


Replace policy. Deleted the word “treatment” from the title. Policy Guidelines reworded for readability. Rationale updated with literature search through November 8, 2013. Reference 13,26updated, reference 27 added Policy statements unchanged.


Update Related Policies. Remove 8.01.514 as it was deleted.


Update Related Policies. Remove 8.01.20 and add 8.01.529.


Update Related Policies. Remove 8.01.35, and 8.01.42, then add 8.01.530 and 8.01.532.


Update Related Policies. Remove 8.01.17.


Annual Review. Policy updated with literature review through November 3, 2014. References 1 and 15-18 added. Policy statements unchanged. Clarification made to wording in the Policy Guidelines section for improved readability; no change in intent. ICD-9 and ICD-10 diagnosis and procedure codes removed.

Disclaimer: This medical policy is a guide in evaluating the medical necessity of a particular service or treatment. The Company adopts policies after careful review of published peer-reviewed scientific literature, national guidelines and local standards of practice. Since medical technology is constantly changing, the Company reserves the right to review and update policies as appropriate. Member contracts differ in their benefits. Always consult the member benefit booklet or contact a member service representative to determine coverage for a specific medical service or supply. CPT codes, descriptions and materials are copyrighted by the American Medical Association (AMA).
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