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ACR: Gleevec Found Promising for Systemic Sclerosis

Treatment results in improved Rodnan Skin Scores, forced vital capacity, diffusion capacity

MONDAY, Oct. 19 (HealthDay News) -- In patients with systemic sclerosis, treatment with imatinib mesylate (Gleevec) may be a safe and effective therapy, according to research presented this week at the American College of Rheumatology Annual Scientific Meeting, held from Oct. 17 to 21 in Philadelphia.

Jessica Gordon, M.D., of the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York City, and colleagues studied the effect of imatinib on 30 patients, including 20 with a disease duration of less than four years and 10 with a duration of more than four years.

After one year, the researchers identified 156 adverse events possibly related to imatinib, the most common of which were fluid retention, nausea, fatigue, and elevation of creatine kinase. In the 16 patients who had completed 12 months of treatment, they found that mean Modified Rodnan Skin Scores improved from 30.8 to 23.5, mean forced vital capacity scores improved from 84 to 90, and mean diffusion capacity scores improved from 80 to 88.

"Translational investigations are ongoing to delineate mechanisms of action and predictors of response," the authors conclude. "Placebo-controlled investigation is warranted to better define the role of imatinib in the treatment of systemic sclerosis."

One author reported a financial relationship with the pharmaceutical industry.

Abstract

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