The race against chronic myeloid leukemia not yet won

January 23, 2012

Although significant progress has been made in treating chronic myeloid leukemia, the disease cannot yet be eliminated in all patients, and that challenge must be addressed, states a commentary in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal).

Likening the journey to find a cure for chronic myeloid leukemia as a marathon, cancer expert Dr. Jorge Cortes, University of Texas, MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, Texas, writes, "The past half century has been an extraordinary run that has us on an excellent pace to not only complete the race to a cure, but to do so in record time."

Developments in treatments have been significant, with a five-year survival rate of 90% today compared with a median survival rate of three to five years in the 1960s.

"Despite this progress, many challenges remain that merit a concerted effort from researchers, , regulatory authorities, third party payers and the patients themselves," writes Dr. Cortes. "Our goal should be to eliminate the disease in all patients."

The use of the drug imatinib has been a key weapon in the arsenal against the disease, although only 60% of patients have a decent outcome; people can be resistant to the drug or develop resistance. Other second-line drugs work in about 50% of the patients in whom is not effective, but at least 10%-15% of them will lose their response to the treatment over time.

Dr. Cortes states that doctors need to ensure adherence to treatments, that more research into other therapies is still necessary and that must stay focused on the long term.

"Until all patients with can have an optimal quality of life while fighting this disease, our marathon is not over," concludes Dr. Cortes.

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Alternative splicing, an important mechanism for cancer

September 22, 2017
Cancer, which is one of the leading causes of death worldwide, arises from the disruption of essential mechanisms of the normal cell life cycle, such as replication control, DNA repair and cell death. Thanks to the advances ...

'Labyrinth' chip could help monitor aggressive cancer stem cells

September 21, 2017
Inspired by the Labyrinth of Greek mythology, a new chip etched with fluid channels sends blood samples through a hydrodynamic maze to separate out rare circulating cancer cells into a relatively clean stream for analysis. ...

Drug combination may improve impact of immunotherapy in head and neck cancer

September 21, 2017
Checkpoint inhibitor-based immunotherapy has been shown to be very effective in recurrent and metastatic head and neck cancer but only in a minority of patients. University of California San Diego School of Medicine researchers ...

Whole food diet may help prevent colon cancer, other chronic conditions

September 21, 2017
A diet that includes plenty of colorful vegetables and fruits may contain compounds that can stop colon cancer and inflammatory bowel diseases in pigs, according to an international team of researchers. Understanding how ...

New kinase detection method helps identify targets for developing cancer drugs

September 21, 2017
Purdue University researchers have developed a high-throughput method for matching kinases to the proteins they phosphorylate, speeding the ability to identify multiple potential cancer drug targets.

Poliovirus therapy induces immune responses against cancer

September 20, 2017
An investigational therapy using modified poliovirus to attack cancer tumors appears to unleash the body's own capacity to fight malignancies by activating an inflammation process that counter's the ability of cancer cells ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.