Gleevec is a drug initially approved for Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia but also studied for a variety of other conditions. It was studied for P. Vera at Weil-Cornell and the study was published in 2011. It treated 37 patients with polycythemia vera with Gleevec. The overall response rate was 49%. Thirty percent had a complete response, and 19%, a partial response. These are quite good results. On the other hand, 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.
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