You are here

Skin depigmentation w Imatinib


Curious if anyone has had a side effect of skin depigmentation?  I noticed within a year of starting imatinib I lost a bunch of skin colour around my eyes and even now people will remark on my “sunglasses tan” even in the winter when it’s just loss of pigment all around my eyes.

It seems to be getting a bit worse and I wondered if anyone has had this side effect and whether it may have reversed at all with a different TKI?  I have decent results with gleevec so I’m not interested in switching but if there ever comes a time that I need to I wonder whether it might come back.

Have a look a few posts back at a recent discussion on Forum dated 18 April 2021 titled "Increased skin sensitivity to the sun" where the subject is referred to.What you refer to is not unusual with imatinib.



Yes, it interferes with melanocytes, which produce pigment.  I forget which kinase it hits to do this - c-KIT?  PDGFR?  Doesn't matter much.  You can usually spot people on Gleevec (imatinib) by their pale skin and puffy eyes.  Sorry.  It's a little better on dasatinib.

Hi.  I was diagnosed in February 2015.  Been in imatinib since April 2015.  It does interfere with your skin colour.  I look like Dracula - my skin is so white now and you can spot us cml people in clinic. Scary. 

Hypopigmentation is a relatively commom side effect caused by TKI (see link below). In my case, it came together with hyperpigmentation with melasma and melanonychia, supposedly because the interaction of the excessive iron load in the body with the melanocytes affected by TKI.