What is the efficacy of imatinib in the treatment of chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML)?

Updated: May 23, 2021
  • Author: Emmanuel C Besa, MD; Chief Editor: Sara J Grethlein, MD, FACP  more...
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Answer

The tyrosine kinase inhibitor imatinib has replaced interferon as a first-line therapy, as it is associated with a higher response rate and better tolerance of adverse effects. In a study of 832 patients who received imatinib for treatment of CML and were in complete cytogenetic remission after 2 years, survival was not statistically significantly different from that of the general population. [14]  Another study of long-term outcome of treatment with imatinib, with median follow-up of 10.9 years, reported overall survival of 83.3% with a complete cytogenetic response rate of 82.8%. [15]

Patients who develop blast crisis, which has manifestations similar to those of acute leukemia, have a very poor prognosis. Treatment results are unsatisfactory, and most of these patients succumb to the disease. Survival is 3-6 months.


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