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New Data Confirm Safety of Stopping Imatinib in CML
2012 Jun 26, S Freeman
AMSTERDAM (EGMN) - Stopping imatinib in patients who have achieved stable remission of chronic myeloid leukemia for at least 2 years appears to be a safe therapeutic strategy, according to updated results of the Australasian Leukemia and Lymphoma CML-8 trial.
"Approximately 40% of patients who had been in a stable complete molecular response and stopped their treatment are in a complete molecular response with a median follow-up of 3 years," said consultant hematologist Dr. David Ross in an interview at the annual congress of the European Hematology Association.
As of April 2012, 18 of 40 patients remained in stable complete molecular remission (CMR) while off treatment. Although 22 patients had a molecular recurrence at some point after imatinib (Gleevec) withdrawal, they all responded to the reintroduction of imatinib, with most patients rapidly regaining CMR.
These data build on those already released from the STIM (Stop Imatinib) trial (Lancet Oncol. 2010;11:1029-35) and the STOP 2G-TKI study, which have also shown that imatinib, dasatinib (Sprycel), and nilotinib (Tasigna) withdrawal is a feasible therapeutic strategy for some patients with chronic myeloid leukemia (CML).
The CML-8 trial involved 40 adult patients who had been treated with imatinib for at least 3 years and were in CMR for at least 2 years. CMR was defined as no detectable BCR-ABL mRNA as determined by real-time quantitative polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) analysis. The latter was checked every month during the first year after imatinib withdrawal, every 2 months in the second year, and then every 3 months for up to 5 years of total follow-up. The last patient entered the trial in 2011, so further data from the trial are likely in the future.
"We've not seen any relapses later than 2 years," said Dr. Ross, of SA Pathology and Flinders Medical Centre in Adelaide, Australia.
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