Treatment of chronic myeloid leukemia in the imatinib era

Perspective from a developing country




There is paucity of data from developing countries on the efficacy and safety of imatinib mesylate in chronic myeloid leukemia (CML). The primary objective of this study was to document complete and partial cytogenetic responses to imatinib in all phases of CML. Secondary objectives included evaluations of complete hematologic response, safety, time to progression, and survival.


Two hundred seventy-five patients in all phases of CML who received treatment with imatinib from January 2001 to December 2005 were included in the study. All patients had on bone marrow or BCR-ABL positive in peripheral blood by polymerase chain reaction.


After a median follow-up of 18 months, major cytogenetic responses (Ph <35%) in chronic phase (CP), accelerated phase (AP), and blastic phase (BP) were documented in 61%, 57%, and 28% of patients, respectively. A complete cytogenetic response was observed in 39.4%, 35.7%, and 14.3% of patients in CP, AP, and BP, respectively; and a complete hematologic response was observed in 90%, 86%, and 30%, respectively. The median time to progression at 18 months was 91% in CP and 68% in AP. The overall survivals in CP, AP, and BP at 18 months was 92%, 74%, and 38%, respectively.


Impressive hematologic, cytogenetic, and molecular responses to imatinib were observed, similar to the responses reported in patients from Western countries. Patients had good compliance, toxicity was limited, and overall quality of life was improved markedly. The results indicated that the biology of CML is not different in patients from developing countries. Cancer 2007 © 2007 American Cancer Society.