Thanks everyone for the quick feedback on this.
I had looked at the STOP trial results before and the 50-60% initial success rates look promising to me as a patient, but I suspect it might not give a physician enough confidence to define a cessation protocol on his own. The pre-requisites for a clinical trial are not strictly met either compared with the in vitro testing necessary before the FDA approved the drug trials. I doubt in vitro results would mean much anyway since the setting is so much different than the in vivo setting (for example, how does one simulate the blood-brain lipid barrier in a petrie dish?). If I had been experiencing severe side effects or developed any severe adverse affects, I'd most likely give cessation a shot. The excellent rate of returning response for patients who began to relapse is also very promising. These tests are still a beginning, and are not providing much for a physician to base a course of treatment cessation upon as yet.
The LAST trial protocol looks like a good first crack at defining a safe cessation protocol. Unfortunately for me, no hospitals in Texas are participating. The nearest location is indeed Atlanta. I believe M.D Anderson's current position on cessation protocols is that they are not yet worth the risk for patients who are successfully in molecular remission and tolerating the drugs' side effects. I am personally not comfortable going counter to their medical advice and best judgment. In fact, it looks like there is a clinical trial recruiting at MDA to continue providing TKIs for patients who were previously enrolled in the Tasigna GIST studies (a trial that completed last year). If that protocol opens up to include CMLTasigna trial participants, I will most definitely apply for inclusion.
The financial considerations are something to consider, but the fact is, if my Rx insurance covers what they told us on the phone, then it is clear that I can afford the monetary cost to continue treatment. Rx insurance providers revise their formularies and protocols frequently so this situation could easily change in the future. Medicare coverage may also be a different scenario, but given that Federal programs are subject to the vagaries of politics, I'll cross that bridge when I come to it (in four years).
I'm still very interested in the entire subject of TKI cessation and I would like to encourage this group to continue posting information and experiences with it.