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New therapies and gene target advance the treatment and understanding of hard-to-treat leukemias
Date:12/6/2010

p://ash.confex.com/ash/2010/webprogram/Paper32925.html" title="[Abstract 359]">[Abstract 359]

It is estimated that the incidence rate of chronic myeloid leukemia (CML), a type of blood and bone marrow malignancy in which too many white blood cells are produced, varies from 0.6 to 2 cases per 100,000 persons each year.2 More than 95 percent of people with CML are affected with the Philadelphia chromosome (Ph+), a unique chromosomal abnormality that harbors a leukemic gene called BCR-ABL. This gene promotes the disease and allows the disease to progress to terminal acute leukemia defined as "accelerated" and "blast" phase if the disease is not properly treated. The current standard first-line treatment for Ph+ CML is the targeted BCR-ABL inhibitor, imatinib.

Nilotinib, a second-generation BCR-ABL inhibitor, recently received FDA approval (June 2010) as a first-line therapy for this patient population based on the results from an 18-month study that found that nilotinib demonstrated superior efficacy as compared with standard therapy imatinib, with higher and faster molecular responses. This study also showed that rates of progression to accelerated or blast phase were also significantly lower for nilotinib than for imatinib.

In order to confirm that the efficacy of nilotinib is durable over a three-year time frame, the period of time when most of the failures to imatinib are described, researchers from the Gruppo Italiano Malattie EMatologiche dell'Adulto (GIMEMA) Chronic Myeloid Leukemia (CML) Working Party (WP) in Italy enrolled 73 patients with newly diagnosed Ph+ CML into a phase II clinical trial in which patients received nilotinib 400 mg twice daily. Currently, the median follow-up is longer than three years. The primary endpoint of the study was the complete cytogenetic response (CCgR) rate at 12 months meaning that no cells containing the Philadelphia chromosome were detected in the bone marrow. Other outc
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Contact: Lindsey Love
llove@hematology.org
540-538-9326
American Society of Hematology
Source:Eurekalert

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