Young People with Chronic Myeloid Leukemia

Chronic myeloid leukemia adolescent patients fare worse

(RxWiki News) Since targeted therapies known as tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKI) have been in use, the outlook for people diagnosed with chronic myeloid leukemia has improved dramatically. Unfortunately, this trend isn't true for all patients.

Adolescents and young adults with chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) do not respond as well to the standard drug therapies used to treat the disease.

"If you're living with a chronic disease, don't miss any medical appointments."

A team of researchers at The University of Texas, MD Anderson Cancer Center reviewed the progress of young people aged 15-29 taking taking targeted drugs to treat their CML.

A total of 468 people with CML participated in the study, including 61 young people. The median (average) time of treatment with these drugs - Gleevec (imatinib), Sprycel (dasatinib) and Tasigna (nilotinib) - was 48 months. The participants were followed for about 71 months.

Researchers were surprised by what they found.

Younger people didn't have the same favorable responses to the standard CML medications as older patients did.

The older patients had significantly more positive treatment-related responses (disease improved) - complete cytogenic, major molecular and complete molecular responses - than did the adolescents and young people.

Older individuals also had fewer disease-related health events and complications.

Both groups were similar in terms of the rate at which the disease progressed to a more advanced stage and overall survival.

The authors conclude, "Additional research in this population is required to better define outcomes, understand the cause of this difference, and to help make better treatment recommendations."

This study was supported by grant funding from the National Institutes of Health and published July 1 in Haematologica.

Several of the researchers disclosed financial relationships with various corporations, including pharmaceutical manufacturers.

Review Date: 
August 2, 2012