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Four Approved Frontline Treatments Benefit Patients with Chronic Myeloid Leukemia

Michael J. Mauro, MD
Published Online:6:29 PM, Fri August 2, 2019

Michael J. Mauro, MD, a hematologist at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, discusses how 4 FDA-approved frontline therapies are providing benefit to patients with chronic myeloid leukemia (CML).

The first agent approved in the frontline setting of CML was imatinib (Gleevec), a tyrosine kinase inhibitor (TKI). Mauro says this agent has been safe and effective in newly diagnosed patients with CML, but now physicians should balance the merits of the other 3 approved agents.

Over the last few years, 3 second-generation TKIs have been approved in this setting as well, including nilotinib (Tasigna), dasantinib (Sprycel), and ponatinib (Iclusig). Physicians must balance the merits of this new class of agents, which have been reported with relative benefit and low toxicities, Mauro notes. In order to decide the best treatment, physicians should look at each individual patient and their goals in terms of treatment to figure out how to best use these therapies and manage the unique adverse events of each agent.

Having 4 FDA-approved drugs in the frontline setting for any cancer is unique, says Mauro. However, this is a good problem to have. Now, physicians will have to consider the effects of each agent to find what will work best with each patient.
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