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Ann Hematol. 2009 Jan;88(1):37-41. doi: 10.1007/s00277-008-0548-y. Epub 2008 Jul 24.

Molecular responses of late chronic phase chronic myeloid leukemia patients after achieving complete cytogenetic responses with imatinib treatment: a 6-year follow-up.

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  • 1Institute of Hematology, People's Hospital of Peking University, 11 Xi-zhi-men South Street, Beijing 100044, China.


To explore the long-term efficacy of imatinib to chronic myeloid leukemia, a total of 46 late chronic phase (CP) patients were assessed after achieving complete cytogenetic response (CCyR). The median duration of imatinib treatment was 68 (61-74) months. Two hundred fifty-three bone marrow samples were detected BCR-ABL messenger RNA (mRNA) levels by TaqMan-based real-time quantitative reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction. The median time when CCyR was first achieved was eight (3-72) months. Thirty-four patients achieved major molecular response (MMoR), and their median time when MMoR was first achieved was 35 (3-65) months. More patients achieving CCyR within 18 months obtained MMoR than those after 18 months (85% vs 42%, p = 0.006). One patient progressed into blastic crisis, and four patients suffered cytogenetic relapse later. The estimated 6-year event-free survival (EFS) rate of all patients was 81%. The BCR-ABL mRNA levels at the time of first CCyR of relapsed patients were significantly higher than those in continuous CCyR (p = 0.011). The 6-year estimated EFS rate of MMoR patients was significantly higher than that of non-MMoR patients (100% vs 44%, p = 0.0001). Achieving CCyR within 18 months had a higher probability of achieving MMoR within 6 years. The 6-year estimated EFS rate was significantly higher for patients achieving CCyR within 12 months than those after 12 months (97% vs 55%, p = 0.05). The time when MMoR was first achieved did not affect 6-year estimated EFS. Therefore, imatinib could induce most late CP patients to achieve long-term durable responses after achieving CCyR. Both the time when CCyR was first achieved and the depth of BCR-ABL reduction after CCyR are relevant to long-term EFS.

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