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Leuk Lymphoma. 2009 Jun;50(6):944-51. doi: 10.1080/10428190902926973.

Previous best responses can be re-achieved by resumption after imatinib discontinuation in patients with chronic myeloid leukemia: implication for intermittent imatinib therapy.

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  • 1Molecular Genetics Research Institute, The Catholic University of Korea, Seoul, Korea.


Although imatinib is considered as a front line therapy in patients with chronic myeloid leukemia (CML), it is still unclear whether transient imatinib discontinuation may adversely affect the outcome. This study was conducted to investigate long-term outcome after discontinuation and resumption of imatinib, and to determine whether intermittent imatinib therapy can be employed in patients with CML. Twenty six Philadelphia chromosome positive (Ph+) patients with CML discontinued imatinib when they achieved complete cytogenetic response (CCyR) or complete molecular response (CMR), and they were retreated with imatinib in case of hematologic, cytogenetic or molecular relapse. Except one patient who progressed and two patients who are in persistent molecular remission without imatinib resumption, all of 23 patients are maintaining the best response achieved after imatinib resumption with a median follow-up of 44 months. This study shows that although imatinib cannot be discontinued completely, intermittent therapy can be considered for the treatment of patients with CML in particular situations.

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