© 2005-2012 American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO). All rights reserved worldwide.
Researchers found that the drug dasatinib (Sprycel) is more effective than imatinib (Gleevec), a drug that works similarly to dasatinib, for people newly diagnosed with chronic myeloid leukemia (CML). Previous studies have shown that dasatinib can be an effective treatment for patients who stop imatinib because of side effects or because the drug stopped working (called drug resistance).
This study looked at a measure called complete cytogenetic response (CCyR) that is used to determine how well the treatment is working. After a year of treatment, more than three-quarters of patients receiving dasatinib had a complete cytogenetic response, compared with two-thirds of patients receiving imatinib. Patients receiving dasatinib also were more likely to have a major molecular response, another measure of how well the treatment is working, more quickly than patients receiving imatinib.
What this means for patients
“We've been seeing more patients with CML develop imatinib resistance, so these results are very exciting,” said lead author Hagop Kantarjian, MD, Professor and Chair of the Leukemia Department at the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. “Our findings suggest that by using dasatinib first for patients newly diagnosed with CML, we can improve outcomes.” Because complete cytogenetic response can be a way to predict a patient's survival, dasatinib may lengthen the lives of patients with CML. However, this study is ongoing and researchers will not know if dasatinib increases survival until the study is completed.
What to Ask Your Doctor
- What type of leukemia do I have?
- What are the treatment options?
- What treatment do you recommend? Why?
- What is the strategy if this treatment stops working?
- What clinical trials are open to me?
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