By Anne MacLennan
Imatinib can induce high rates of cytogenetic and haematologic responses in patients with chronic-phase chronic myelogenous leukaemia in whom previous interferon therapy has failed, a study has found.
This finding is further encouraging evidence that imatinib, a well-tolerated oral agent, is effective against this disease.
However, since the cytogenetic response was not evaluated by the highly sensitive polymerase chain reaction in this study, it is likely most patients who responded have residual disease and will require continuous therapy with the drug.
Hagop Kantarjian and colleagues from the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, Texas – with others from centres in the United States and across Europe – did this work for the International STI571 CML Study Group.