Switch from Imatinib to Nilotinib Improved Outcomes in Chronic Phase CML

Editor’s note: This story is about the results of a clinical trial – a research study with volunteer patients. The study tested a treatment for people with chronic phase chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) who had persistent minimal residual disease after long-term treatment with the drug imatinib (Gleevec). For the study, half of the 200 participants continued taking imatinib, and half of the patients switched to the drug nilotinib. It was found that the patients who switched to nilotinib had better outcomes than those who didn’t.

“Patients with chronic phase chronic myeloid leukemia who had persistent minimal residual disease after long-term treatment with imatinib achieved deeper molecular responses and undetectable disease when they switched to treatment with nilotinib, according to study results.

“The reduced disease burden associated with the switch to nilotinib may enable patients to enroll on treatment-free remission trials, researchers wrote.

“Timothy P. Hughes, MD, FRACP, FRCPA, head of the division of hematology at South Australia Pathology and clinical professor of medicine at University of Adelaide in Australia, and colleagues evaluated data from 207 patients with CML. All patients were in complete cytogenetic response yet had detectable BCR-ABL1 after 2 or more years of treatment with imatinib (Gleevec, Novartis).”