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Blood. 2006 Jun 1;107(11):4250-6. Epub 2006 Feb 7.

BCR-ABL mRNA levels at and after the time of a complete cytogenetic response (CCR) predict the duration of CCR in imatinib mesylate-treated patients with CML.

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Department of Pathology, Oregon Health & Science University, Portland, OR 97201, USA.


Although most patients with chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) treated with imatinib mesylate achieve a complete cytogenetic response (CCR), some patients will relapse. To determine the potential of real-time quantitative BCR-ABL reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) to predict the duration of continued CCR, we monitored 85 patients treated with imatinib mesylate who achieved a CCR. With a median follow-up of 13 months after CCR (29 months after imatinib mesylate; median 6 RQ-PCR assays), 23 patients (27%) had disease progression (predominantly loss of CCR). Compared with the median baseline level of BCR-ABL mRNA, 42% of patients achieved at least a 2-log molecular response at the time of first reaching CCR. Failure to achieve a 2-log response at the time of CCR was an independent predictive marker of subsequent progression-free survival (hazard ratio = 5.8; 95% CI, 1.7-20; P = .005). After CCR, BCR-ABL mRNA levels progressively declined for at least the next 15 months, and 42 patients (49%) ultimately achieved at least a 3-log reduction in BCR-ABL mRNA. Patients failing to achieve this 3-log response, at any time during therapy, had significantly shorter progression-free survival (hazard ratio = 8.1; 95% CI, 3.1-22; P < .001). The achievement of either a 2-log molecular response at the time of CCR or a 3-log response anytime thereafter is a significant and independent prognostic marker of subsequent progression-free survival.

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