Improving Chronic Myeloid Leukemia Treatment

Tasigna better than Gleevec for chronic phase CML patients

(RxWiki News) Since its introduction some years ago, Gleevec (imatinib) has been the drug of choice for treating patients newly diagnosed with chronic myeloid leukemia (CML).

A recently published clinical trial now finds another drug delivers even better results.

After following patients for a minimum of 24 months, Tasigna (nilotinib) has been shown to be more effective than Gleevec in patients with newly diagnosed Philadelphia chromosome-positive chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) in chronic (initial) phase. 

"Ask your doctor which CML medication is best for you."

Authors summarized data from the Evaluating Nilotinib Efficacy and Safety in clinical Trials-newly diagnosed patients (ENESTnd) study showing follow-up results for 24 months. The initial study had been a 12-month follow-up.

ENESTnd followed 874 adults who had been diagnosed with CML in the previous six months. They were randomly assigned into three groups to receive one of these oral medications: 282 patients received Tasigna 300 mg twice a day; 281 took Tasigna 400 mg twice a day; and 283 had Gleevec 400 mg once a day.

The primary endpoint was to achieve a major molecular response at 12 months.

After 24 months, significantly more patients taking Tasigna had molecular responses than did patients taking Gleevec:

  • 201 with Tasigna 300 mg twice daily
  • 187  with Tasigna 400 mg twice daily
  • 124 with Gleevec once a day

The study also found that the disease progressed in fewer patients taking Tasigna than those using Gleevec. Survival rates were similar among the groups, but there were fewer CML-related deaths in the Tasigna groups than in the Gleevec arm.

Authors conclude that Tasigna shows better efficacy than Gleevec in newly diagnosed CML patients. Study results suggest that Tasigna be a first-line treatment for these patients.

This study was published in the October, 2011 edition of Lancet Oncology.

Review Date: 
December 1, 2011