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Gleevec Stops Leukemia Over Long Term

Remission approaches five years for most patients with chronic myeloid leukemia

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 14, 2005 (HealthDay News) -- Nearly five years on, 90 percent of patients with a form of leukemia are alive and free of disease after taking the drug Gleevec (imatinib), according to updated trial results.

At 4.5 years, nine out of 10 patients with the common, Philadelphia chromosome-positive form of chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) were still alive and their yearly risk of progressing to advanced disease was less than 1 percent, according to a study presented this week at the American Society of Hematology annual meeting in Atlanta.

The findings come from a Phase III retrospective comparison of Gleevec and interferon-based treatment that included more than over 1,100 newly diagnosed patients. The patients were treated at 177 centers in 16 countries.

One group of patients was assigned to receive 400 milligrams per day of Gleevec, with a second group of patients receiving interferon (IFN) 5 MIU M2 per day with Ara-C 20 mg/M2/day for 10 days each month.

After 36 months of treatment, the overall survival rate for the patients taking Gleevec was 92 percent, compared to 84 percent for patients receiving IFN and Ara-C. After 54 months, the Gleevec patients had an overall survival rate of 90.3 percent.

More information

The U.S. National Library of Medicine has more about CML.

SOURCE: Novartis Oncology, news relese, Dec. 12, 2005
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