Over the past decade, the CML-study IV group has been looking at different ways of treating CML. For example, the group found that higher doses of Gleevec could enable people to achieve key milestones such as major molecular response (MMR) (Hehlmann and colleagues. J Clin Oncol 2011;29:1634-1642). People older than age 65 years also appeared to benefit from a slightly higher dose if they could tolerate it (Proetel and colleagues. Ann Hematol 2014;93:1167-1176).
The most recent report from the group analysed how well people did over the first decade of treatment (Kalmanti and colleagues. Leukemia 2015; epublished February 13, 2015). After a median of seven years, two-thirds were still taking their medication. The estimated 10-year survival rate was 82%. Overall, 92% of people achieved a complete cytogenetic remission (CCyR, or a 2-log reduction), and 89% achieved MMR (a 3-log reduction).
Most people experienced some side effects, especially if they were taking higher doses of Gleevec or Gleevec combined with interferon-alpha. However, the frequency of side effects did decline over time, and most were mild and manageable.
So this study shows that most people are able to keep taking their medication over the longer term – and will do very well in controlling their CML for a decade or more.