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Open Access Research article

Patan hospital experience in treating philadelphia chromosome/BCR-ABL1 positive chronic myeloid leukemia patients with gleevec (imatinib mesylate); the first generation specific tyrosine kinase inhibitor

Gyan K Kayastha1*, Padma Gurung1, Paras K Acharya1, Buddhi P Paudyal1, Bruce Hayes2, Mark Zimmerman3, Arjun Karki1 and Aaron S Mansfield4

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Internal Medicine, Patan Hospital, Lalitpur Nepal

2 Department of Emergency Medicine, Patan Hospital, Lalitpur, Nepal

3 Nick Simon Institute, Lalitpur, Nepal

4 Division of Hematology of the Department of Internal Medicine, and Department of Oncology, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN, USA

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BMC Blood Disorders 2010, 10:8  doi:10.1186/1471-2326-10-8

Published: 7 December 2010

Abstract

Background

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.

Methods

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.

Results

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.

Conclusions

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.