[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Chronic Myeloid Leukemia (CML) is caused by the abnormal fusion protein BCR-ABL1, a constitutively active tyrosine kinase and product of the Philadelphia chromosome. Gleevec (Imatinib mesylate) is a selective inhibitor of this kinase. Treatment with this agent is known to result in hematologic, cytogenetic, and molecular responses. Patan hospital (Patan, Nepal) is one of the Gleevec International Patient Assistance Program (GIPAP) centers for patients with CML.
A total of 106 Philadelphia positive CML patients were enrolled in our center between Feb 2003 and Jun 2008, and 103 of them were eligible for cytogenetic and/or hematologic response analyses.
Out of 103 patients, 27% patients underwent cytogenetic analysis. Imatinib induced major cytogenetic responses in 89% and complete hematologic responses in almost 100% of the patients with confirmed CML. After a mean follow up of 27 months, an estimated 90% of the patients on imatinib remained in hematologic remission and more than 90% of the patients are still alive. About 30% of patients developed some form of manageable myelosuppression. A few patients developed non-hematologic toxic side effects such as edema and hepatotoxicity.
Our study demonstrates that imatinib is safe to use in a developing country. Furthermore, we demonstrate that imatinib is very effective and induced long lasting responses in a high proportion of patients with Ph chromosome/BCR-ABL1 positive CML. Imatinib is well tolerated by our patients. The lack of cytogenetic analysis in the majority of our patients hindered our ability to detect inadequate responses to imatinib and adjust therapy appropriately.