New hope for chronic myelogenous leukemia patients: dasatinib offers better efficacy with shorter treatment
Although the discovery of tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs) has dramatically improved the prognoses of chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML) patients, a cure has remained elusive. Unanswered questions include how long must a patient continue on TKI therapy, and how does a patient know when he/she can safely stop or finish this therapy? Imagawa et al. have carefully addressed these questions of safety and efficacy using a stop study of the second-generation TKI dasatinib. The results of a multicenter phase II trial termed the “dasatinib discontinuation” (DADI) trial indicated that 48% (30/63) of CML patients who had maintained a deep molecular response (DMR) to second-line or subsequent dasatinib therapy for at least for 1 year did not show any signs of disease relapse. Thus, even after it is stopped, dasatinib treatment may decrease the chance of disease relapse and provide a curative benefit to CML patients. This work by Imagawa et al. strongly supports the clinical utility of the second-generation TKI dasatinib for CML treatment.