(HealthDay News) — For patients with newly diagnosed chronic myeloid leukemia (CML), treatment with imatinib is associated with an estimated overall survival rate of 83.3 percent at 10 years, according to a study published in the March 9 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

Andreas Hochhaus, M.D., from Universitätsklinikum Jena in Germany, and colleagues conducted a multicenter trial with crossover design involving patients with newly diagnosed CML in the chronic phase who were randomized to receive either imatinib or interferon alfa plus cytarabine. Patients were followed for a median of 10.9 years. The analyses focused on patients who had been randomized to receive imatinib due to the high rate of crossover among those randomized to receive interferon alfa plus cytarabine (65.6 percent) and the short duration of therapy before crossover in those patients (median, 0.8 years).

The researchers found that the estimated overall survival rate was 83.3 percent at 10 years. Overall, 48.3 percent of patients who had been randomized to imatinib completed study treatment, and a complete cytogenic response was observed for 82.8 percent. Serious adverse events that were considered to be related to imatinib were uncommon, and occurred more often during the first year of treatment.

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“Almost 11 years of follow-up showed that the efficacy of imatinib persisted over time and that long-term administration of imatinib was not associated with unacceptable cumulative or late toxic effects,” the authors write.

Several authors disclosed financial ties to pharmaceutical companies, including Novartis, which manufactures imatinib and funded the study.

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