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Study finds heart failure is rare among leukemia patients on imatinib
Date:9/6/2007

ulation as reported by the Framingham Heart Study, a defining long-term study of cardiovascular disease in the United States.

Imatinib, known by its brand name Gleevec(tm) and developed by Novartis Pharmaceuticals, is approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML), Philadelphia-chromosome positive acute lymphoblastic leukemia d(ALL) and gastrointestinal stromal tumor, a rare solid tumor cancer.

Imatinib is a targeted therapy that inhibits two members of a class of enzymes called tyrosine kinases, which transmit growth and survival signals in cells. The drug also blocks a hybrid tyrosine kinase known to cause CML and Philadelphia-positive ALL.

Before the drug was developed, about only about half of CML patients survived for five years after diagnosis. The five-year survival rate of patients taking imatinib is 95 percent.

In a separate paper late last year, a research team led by scientists at the University of Pennsylvania reported that imatinib may be cardiotoxic in mammals. They found stress-induced damage to the mitochondria - the powerhouse organs in cells - in cardiac muscle of mice given the drug. They also implicated inhibition of Abl, one of the tyrosine kinases targeted by imatinib, as the molecular mechanism that causes the damage.

Additionally, 10 patients at M. D. Anderson who developed congestive heart failure after exposure to imatinib were described in the paper. The paper did not assess the frequency of heart failure among patients taking imatinib or the potential risk factors involved.

Durand, who was also a co-author on the earlier paper, says research continues to address how tyrosine kinase inhibition might affect cardiovascular risk. "We continue to work closely with oncologists to identify early biochemical markers which may predict patients at risk and implement medical therapy earlier to increase the success of tyrosine kinase inhi
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Contact: Scott Merville
sdmervil@mdanderson.org
713-792-0661
University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center
Source:Eurekalert

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