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ASH: Second-Line Drugs Target Chronic Myeloid Leukemia

Almost all patients on nilotinib or dasatinib quickly achieve a complete cytogenetic response

TUESDAY, Dec. 8 (HealthDay News) -- In patients with drug-resistant chronic myeloid leukemia, two second-line drugs -- nilotinib and dasatinib -- may be at least as effective as the front-line drug imatinib, according to research presented this week at the annual meeting of the American Society of Hematology, held from Dec. 5 to 8 in New Orleans.

In two separate trials, Jorge Cortes, M.D., of the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, and colleagues studied the effects of 400 mg twice daily nilotinib in 65 patients, and the effects of either 50 mg twice daily or 100 mg once daily dasatinib in 62 patients, comparing the results with the historical record of imatinib.

After six months, the researchers found that a complete cytogenetic response was achieved by 96 percent of evaluable patients in the nilotinib trial and 94 percent of those in the dasatinib trial, significantly higher than response rates observed for 400 or 800 mg daily of imatinib (54 and 85 percent, respectively). In patients observed for up to 30 months, they found that both drugs were associated with a complete cytogenetic response rate similar to that of higher-dose imatinib.

"More patients taking nilotinib or dasatinib are achieving complete responses more quickly than they do on either of two daily doses of imatinib," Cortes said in a statement.

The studies were supported by Novartis and Bristol-Myers Squibb; several authors reported financial relationships with both companies.

Abstract - Nilotinib
Abstract - Dasatinib
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