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Advances in the treatment of chronic myeloid leukemia

Anna M Eiring*, Jamshid S Khorashad*, Kimberly Morley and Michael W Deininger

Author affiliations

Division of Hematology and Hematologic Malignancies, University of Utah Huntsman Cancer Institute, Salt Lake City, Utah, USA

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Citation and License

BMC Medicine 2011, 9:99  doi:10.1186/1741-7015-9-99

Published: 26 August 2011

Abstract

Although imatinib is firmly established as an effective therapy for newly diagnosed patients with chronic myeloid leukemia (CML), the field continues to advance on several fronts. In this minireview we cover recent results of second generation tyrosine kinase inhibitors in newly diagnosed patients, investigate the state of strategies to discontinue therapy and report on new small molecule inhibitors to tackle resistant disease, focusing on agents that target the T315I mutant of BCR-ABL. As a result of these advances, standard of care in frontline therapy has started to gravitate toward dasatinib and nilotinib, although more observation is needed to fully support this. Stopping therapy altogether remains a matter of clinical trials, and more must be learned about the mechanisms underlying the persistence of leukemic cells with treatment. However, there is good news for patients with the T315I mutation, as effective drugs such as ponatinib are on their way to regulatory approval. Despite these promising data, accelerated or blastic phase disease remains a challenge, possibly due to BCR-ABL-independent resistance.