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Blood. 2008 Feb 1;111(3):1039-43. Epub 2007 Oct 11.

Favorable long-term follow-up results over 6 years for response, survival, and safety with imatinib mesylate therapy in chronic-phase chronic myeloid leukemia after failure of interferon-alpha treatment.

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Medizinische Fakultaet Mannheim, University of Heidelberg, Mannheim, Germany.

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  • Blood. 2008 Jul 15;112(2):452. Gambacorti, Carlo [corrected to Gambacorti-Passerini, Carlo].


Imatinib mesylate, a targeted inhibitor of BCR-ABL tyrosine kinase, is the standard of care for chronic myeloid leukemia (CML). A phase 2 trial of imatinib in late chronic-phase (CP) CML after interferon-alpha (IFNalpha) failure enrolled 532 patients, 454 with a confirmed diagnosis of CP CML. Median time from diagnosis was 34 months; median duration of imatinib treatment was 65 months. Cumulative best rates of major cytogenetic response (MCyR) and complete cytogenetic response (CCyR) were 67% and 57%, respectively. At the 5-year landmark, 184 (41%) of the 454 patients are in CCyR. At more than 6 years, 199 (44%) of the 454 patients remain on imatinib. Most responses occurred within 12 months of starting imatinib; however, some patients achieved initial MCyR and CCyR more than 5 years after imatinib initiation. Estimated rates of freedom from progression to accelerated phase (AP) and blastic phase (BP) and overall survival at 6 years were 61% and 76%, respectively. Both freedom from progression to AP/BP and overall survival (OS) were associated with cytogenetic response level at 12 months. No increase in rates of serious adverse events was observed with continuous use of imatinib for up to 6.5 years, compared with earlier time points. Imatinib continues to be an effective and safe therapy for patients with CP CML after failure of IFN.

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