Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Cancer. 2007 May 15;109(10):2068-76.

Imatinib compared with chemotherapy as front-line treatment of elderly patients with Philadelphia chromosome-positive acute lymphoblastic leukemia (Ph+ALL).

Author information

  • 1Department of Hematology, University Hospital of Frankfürt, Germany.



Elderly patients with Philadelphia chromosome-positive acute lymphoblastic leukemia (Ph+ALL) have a poor prognosis, with a low complete remission (CR) rate, high induction mortality, and short remission duration. Imatinib (IM) has a favorable toxicity profile but limited antileukemic activity in advanced Ph+ALL. Imatinib in combination with intensive chemotherapy has yielded promising results as front-line therapy, but its value as monotherapy in newly diagnosed Ph+ALL is not known.


Patients with de novo Ph+ALL were randomly assigned to induction therapy with either imatinib (Ind(IM)) or multiagent, age-adapted chemotherapy (Ind(chemo)). Imatinib was subsequently coadministered with consolidation chemotherapy.


In all, 55 patients (median age, 68 years) were enrolled. The overall CR rate was 96.3% in patients randomly assigned to Ind(IM) and 50% in patients allocated to Ind(chemo) (P = .0001). Nine patients (34.6%) were refractory and 2 patients died during Ind(chemo); none failed imatinib induction. Severe adverse events were significantly more frequent during Ind(chemo) (90% vs 39%; P = .005). The estimated overall survival (OS) of all patients was 42% +/- 8% at 24 months, with no significant difference between the 2 cohorts. Median disease-free survival was significantly longer in the 43% of patients (21 of 49 evaluable) in whom BCR-ABL transcripts became undetectable (18.3 months vs 7.2 months; P = .002).


In elderly patients with de novo Ph+ALL, imatinib induction results in a significantly higher CR rate and lower toxicity than induction chemotherapy. With subsequent combined imatinib and chemotherapy consolidation, this initial benefit does not translate into improved survival compared with chemotherapy induction.

(c) 2007 American Cancer Society

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Free full text
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Wiley
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk