Gleevec for Polycythemia Vera – pro


Gleevec is a drug initially approved for Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia. It wasrecently  studied for P. Vera by Richard Silver at Weil-Cornell and the study was published in 2011. It described 37 patientswith an overall response of 49%. Thirty percent had a complete response, and 19%, a partial response. However, a previous study by Nussenzveig et al, did not show much activity in 27 patients. Overall, 4 (17%) patients responded: one had a complete and three partial hematological response. The median time to response was 17.5 months (range 6-28), and the median duration of response was 17 months (range 9-68). No significant changes in JAK2(V617F) mutation burden were noted during imatinib therapy when compared with pretreatment values (P = 0.46).  The investigators concluded that therapy with imatinib was generally well tolerated but  imatinib has minimal clinical activity in PV. Clearly more study is required before this drug can become standard for P. Vera.

Nussenzveig RH, Cortes J, Sever M, Quintás-Cardama A, Ault P, Manshouri T, Bueso-Ramos C, Prchal JT, Kantarjian H, Verstovsek S. Imatinib mesylate therapy for polycythemia vera: final result of a phase II study initiated in 2001.
Int J Hematol. 2009 Jul;90(1):58-63

Richard T. Silver et al, Treatment of polycythemia vera with imatinib mesylat Leukemia Research
Volume 36, Issue 2, February 2012, Pages 156–162

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