Long-Term Side Effects of Tyrosine Kinase Inhibitors in Chronic Myeloid Leukemia


Most patients with chronic myeloid leukemia have deep and durable responses when treated with BCR-ABL1 tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs). Imatinib (the first approved TKI), nilotinib, and dasatinib are used in newly diagnosed, relapsed or intolerant patients, while bosutinib and ponatinib are used only in relapsed or intolerant patients. Previously the drug of choice was related to the likelihood of response and, to a small extent, patient comorbidities. The long-term toxicities, particularly cardiopulmonary side effects, are now impacting treatment choice, making patient comorbidities of significant concern. About 10 % of patients do not tolerate their initial BCR-ABL1 TKI and an increasing number are developing long-term side effects, particularly with the second generation drugs. Side effects of the five drugs reviewed here highlight the differences between cardiovascular, pulmonary, gastrointestinal, and endocrine toxicities, as well as possible second malignancies. There is increasing evidence that patients whose disease is controlled by TKI’s will have greater impact on their quality of life from comorbidities or drug adverse events than from the disease itself. Research into management of long-term toxicities is needed.

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Correspondence to Luke Akard.

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Lauren Caldemeyer, Michael Dugan, and John Edwards report no potential conflicts of interest.

Luke Akard: Speakers Bureau: Ariad, BMS, Novartis, Teva. Research funding: Ariad, BMS, Novartis, Pfizer, Teva.

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Caldemeyer, L., Dugan, M., Edwards, J. et al. Long-Term Side Effects of Tyrosine Kinase Inhibitors in Chronic Myeloid Leukemia. Curr Hematol Malig Rep 11, 71–79 (2016).

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  • CML
  • BCR-ABL1
  • TKI
  • Imatinib
  • Dasatinib
  • Nilotinib