The role of new tyrosine kinase inhibitors in chronic myeloid leukemia

Priyanka A. Pophali, Mrinal M. Patnaik

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

39 Scopus citations


Imatinib mesylate was the first tyrosine kinase inhibitor (TKI) approved for the management of chronic myeloid leukemia. Imatinib produces acceptable responses in approximately 60% of patients, with approximately 20% discontinuing therapy because of intolerance and approximately 20% developing drug resistance. The advent of newer TKIs, such as nilotinib, dasatinib, bosutinib, and ponatinib, has provided multiple options for patients. These agents are more potent, have unique adverse effect profiles, and are more likely to achieve relevant milestones, such as early molecular responses (3-6 months) and optimal molecular responses (12 months). The acquisition of BCR-ABL kinase domain mutations is also reportedly lower with these drugs. Thus far, none of the randomized phase III clinical trials have shown a clinically significant survival difference between frontline imatinib versus newer TKIs. Cost and safety issues with the newer TKIs, such as vascular disease with nilotinib and ponatinib and pulmonary hypertension with dasatinib, have dampened the enthusiasm of using these drugs as frontline options. While the utility of new TKIs in the setting of imatinib failure or intolerance is clear, their use as frontline agents should factor in the age of the patient, additional comorbidities, risk stratification (Sokal score), and cost. Combination therapies and newer agents with potential to eradicate quiescent chronic myeloid leukemia stem cells offers future hope.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)40-50
Number of pages11
JournalCancer Journal (United States)
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2016


  • BCR-ABL1
  • chronic myeloid leukemia
  • tyrosine kinase inhibitors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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