, Volume 96, Issue 1, pp 142-143
Date: 26 May 2012

Clinical relevance of the association of interferon alfa to imatinib in chronic myeloid leukemia therapy

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Interferon therapy represented the front-line treatment in chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) for many years [1] and its story does not seem to be over yet [2]. In fact, two recently published papers [3, 4] have suggested that treatment with imatinib (IM) and peg-interferon (PEG-IFN) alfa in CML is significantly associated with higher rates of molecular response. However, although interesting and promising, these findings raise some debatable issues.

In both manuscripts [3, 4], the authors describe a high rate of discontinuation of PEG-IFN (45 and 61 % of patients during the first year of treatment, respectively), leading ultimately to protocol amendments reducing the PEG-IFN dose. This leaves the optimal PEG-IFN dose to be associated to IM undetermined, and further suggests that PEG-IFN therapy is closely tied to the number and grade of adverse events. Moreover, no significant differences were observed in these two trials with regard to the rates of complete cytogenetic response (CCyR) at

All authors contributed equally.