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Posted by on Jan 20, 2019 in Leukemia | 0 comments

In a nutshell

This study looked at the effectiveness of reducing the dose of imatinib (Gleevec) in the treatment of chronic myeloid leukemia (CML). Researchers found that a lower dose of imatinib can achieve the same result as a high dose in most patients.

Some background

Chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) is a cancer of the bone marrow. This leads to abnormal immune cells. It often linked with abnormal genes. Imatinib is a drug which targets certain proteins on the cancer cells. It has been found to be effective in high dose as first-line treatment of CML. Effectiveness is measured by the deep molecular response (DMR). This relates to the level of abnormal genes found in the blood after treatment. It is not yet known if a lower dose of imatinib is as effective as a high dose for treating CML.

Methods & findings

422 patients receiving 800mg (high dose) imatinib were included in the study. 68 patients reduced the dose to 400mg after a DMR. 

61 (90%) patients on the lower dose imatinib kept a good response to treatment. 5 of the 7 patients who lost response when switching to a lower dose, regained DMR while still on the lower dose. Only two (2.94%) of the 68 patients had to switch to a stronger drug to keep the response.

The bottom line

The study concluded that lowering the dose of imatinib is safe and effective in the treatment of CML.

The fine print

This study did not use a control group for comparison. This may affect results.

Published By :

Haematologica

Date :

Dec 04, 2018

Original Title :
Imatinib dose reduction in major molecular response of chronic myeloid leukemia: results from the German Chronic Myeloid Leukemia-Study IV.
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