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ASH: New Options for Gleevec-Resistant Leukemia

Novel compounds show efficacy, demonstrate value of identifying BCR-ABL mutation patterns

MONDAY, Dec. 11 (HealthDay News) -- Two novel compounds can effectively treat chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML) and acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) patients who are imatinib-resistant, according to research presented this week at the 48th Annual Meeting of the American Society of Hematology (ASH) in Orlando.

Andreas Hochhaus, M.D., of the University of Heidelberg in Germany, and colleagues studied the effects of nilotinib -- an aminopyrimidine-derivative that selectively inhibits the BCR-ABL tyrosine kinase -- on 101 CML patients, including 61 who had BCR-ABL mutations associated with imatinib resistance. They found that nilotinib treatment produced hematologic response rates of 70 percent in patients with mutations and 88 percent in patients without mutations.

Martin C. Mueller, M.D., also of the University of Heidelberg, and colleagues studied the effects of dasatinib -- a multi-targeted kinase inhibitor of BCR-ABL and SRC kinases -- on 394 CML and ALL patients, including 202 who had BCR-ABL mutations. In patients with mutations, the hematologic response rates ranged from 91 percent in chronic phase patients to 34 percent in lymphoid blast crisis/ALL patients.

"Not only does this research show the efficacy of new treatments for imatinib-resistant disease, it also demonstrates the value of looking at each patient's mutation pattern to determine an individual course of therapy," ASH spokesman Charles A. Linker, M.D., of the University of California in San Francisco, said in a statement.

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