Patients with chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) often have comorbidities, at an incidence that might be higher than in the general population. Because of the favorable outcome of most patients with CML treated with tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs), a greater number of comorbidities might be the most significant adverse feature for long-term survival. The presence of comorbidities may also affect the risk of developing adverse events with TKIs. This effect is perhaps best exemplified by the risk of developing arterio-occlusive events, which is greatest for patients who have other risk factors for such events, with the risk increasing with higher numbers of comorbidities. The coexistence of comorbidities in patients with CML not only may affect TKI selection but also demands close monitoring of the overall health condition of the patient to optimize safety and provide the opportunity for an optimal outcome to such patients. With optimal, holistic management of leukemia and all other conditions afflicting them, patients with CML and comorbidities may aim for a near-normal life expectancy, just as the more select patients enrolled in clinical trials now enjoy.
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