Background: The therapeutic response of chronic myelogenous leukemia in myeloid blast crisis (CML-MBC) is very poor. Aim: To explore the therapeutic effect of homoharringtonine (HHT) combined with cytarabine (HA regimen) on CML-MBC and its influence on bone marrow CD34+CD7+ cells. Results: Thirty-four patients with CML-MBC were treated with the HA regimen and bone marrow CD34+CD7+ cells were assayed prior to and after treatment. Among 33 evaluable patients, the overall hematological response (complete/partial hematological response and hematological improvement) was 60.1%. Seven patients (21.2%) had a cytogenetic response 12 months after treatment. In the untreated CML-MBC patients, the proportion of bone marrow CD34+CD7+ cells was much higher than in the control group (19.4 ± 7.9 vs. 4.4 ± 1.5%, p < 0.05) and decreased to 14.1 ± 7.1% (p < 0.05) after treatment. Before treatment, the proportion of CD34+CD7+ cells was lower in the patients who had a hematological response to the HA regimen than in the patients who did not respond. Conclusion: The HA regimen is an effective treatment for CML-MBC and CD34+CD7+ cells may be one of the valuable clinical parameters to assess treatment effectiveness.

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