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Posted by on Sep 13, 2018 in Leukemia | 0 comments

In a nutshell

This study aimed to investigate the safety and effectiveness of imatinib in children and adolescents with chronic myeloid leukemia.

This study concluded that first-line imatinib treatment in young patients with chronic myeloid leukemia is highly effective.

Some background

Imatinib (Gleevec) is a type of biological therapy called a tyrosine kinase inhibitor (TKI). TKIs work by stopping the growth of cancer cells. Imatinib is commonly used to treat chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) in adult patients.

It was not established if imatinib would be safe and effective to treat children and adolescents with CML.

Methods & findings

This study involved 148 child and adolescent patients with newly diagnosed CML. All patients were treated with imatinib. The main outcomes measured were therapy response, progression-free survival (PFS; survival without cancer progressing), reasons of treatment failure and side effects.

A complete hematologic response (when all blood cell counts have returned to normal levels) at 3 months was achieved by 89% of patients. A complete cytogenetic response (CCyR; when no cancer cells can be measured) was achieved in 63% of patients by month 12. At month 36, 86% of patients had achieved CCyR. A major molecular response (MMR; when there is a low level of a cancerous gene in the blood) at month 18 was achieved by 59% of people. At month 36, 74% of patients had achieved MMR.

The PFS rate at 18 months was 97%. The 5-year overall survival (patients alive after 5 years) was 94.1%.

27% of patients experienced imatinib failure due to unsatisfactory response or intolerance. 19% of patients underwent stem cell transplantation (SCT). An SCT is used to replace cancer cells that have been killed during treatment.

66% of all patients experienced side effects from imatinib treatment. The most common side effects included anemia (66.2%), low white blood cells (48.6%), low platelet (blood cells involved in clotting) count (27%) and nausea (25%).

The bottom line

This study concluded that first-line imatinib treatment in young patients with CML is highly effective.

The fine print

The use of imatinib in this group of patients has not yet been approved.

What’s next?

Consult your physician about imatinib treatment.

Published By :


Date :

Jun 20, 2018

Original Title :

Front-line imatinib treatment in children and adolescents with chronic myeloid leukemia: results from a phase III trial.

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