The safety profile of imatinib in CML and GIST: long-term considerations

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Imatinib mesylate is considered the standard first-line systemic treatment for patients with chronic myeloid leukaemia (CML) and gastrointestinal stromal tumour (GIST) by targeting BCR-ABL and c-KIT tyrosine kinases, respectively. Indeed, imatinib has substantially changed the clinical management and improved the prognosis of both diseases. Treatment with imatinib is generally well tolerated, and the risk for severe adverse effects is low, generally occurring during the early phase of treatment and correlating with imatinib dose, phase of disease and patient’s characteristics. This article summarises recent data on safety profile of imatinib for the treatment of CML and GIST, including long-term side effects. Prolonged treatment with imatinib in both diseases demonstrates excellent tolerability. There are few significant concerns and those that have emerged, like cardiotoxicity, have far turned out to be exaggerated.

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Eirini Thanopoulou is a scholarship recipient of the Hellenic Society of Medical Oncologists (HeSMO).

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Thanopoulou, E., Judson, I. The safety profile of imatinib in CML and GIST: long-term considerations. Arch Toxicol 86, 1–12 (2012) doi:10.1007/s00204-011-0729-7

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  • Imatinib
  • CML
  • GIST
  • Safety
  • Toxicity