Tyrosine kinase inhibitors and immune checkpoint blockade in allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplantation

Robert J. Soiffer, Matthew S. Davids and Yi-Bin Chen


Advances in the prevention of graft-versus host disease (GVHD) and opportunistic infection have improved survival after allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplantation (allo-HCT) in the past decade. However, few inroads have been made into the treatment or prevention of relapse of the underlying malignancy for which allo-HCT is being performed. The introduction of FDA approved agents with significant activity in a variety of hematologic malignancies provides an opportunity to evaluate these interventions in the allo-HCT setting. Some of the most promising new agents include tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs) directed at bcr-abl, kinase inhibitors targeting fms-like tyrosine kinase 3 (FLT3), and immune checkpoint inhibitors blocking both CTLA4 and PD1. Data have emerged indicating potential efficacy of these agents in preventing or treating relapse though definitive evidence remains elusive. However, potential toxicity can be considerable, highlighting the need for further clinical trials to define the therapeutic window. This review explores the immunologic and clinical consequence of treatment with both TKIs and checkpoint inhibitors in the peri- and post allo-HCT setting.

  • Submitted October 18, 2017.
  • Accepted January 16, 2018.