Objective: Data on the use of Imatinib (IM) in developing countries remain limited. A retrospective study was done to assess the efficacy and toxicity of IM in treating chronic myeloid leukaemia (CML) in Trinidad and Tobago.
Methods: Patients in all phases of CML who started IM therapy between February 2001 and February 2004 were included. All had received other previous therapy. They were assessed for haematological, cytogenetic and molecular response, overall survival (OS), event free survival (EFS) and adverse effects (AE).
Results: Twenty-five patients were followed-up for a median 61 months. At initiation of IM, 18 were in the chronic phase (CP), 3 in accelerated phase (AP), 3 in blast crisis (BC) and one in myelofibrotic transformation (MF). Overall, 96% of patients achieved complete haematological remission (CHR). Among CP patients, 67% attained a major cytogenetic response (MCR) and 44% a complete cytogenetic response (CCR). Overall survival and event free survival in the CP group were 82% and 76% respectively. Overall survival for advanced phase patients was 14% at 61 months. The adverse effects of IM were the same as previously described and generally tolerable. No patient opted to discontinue IM because of side effects.
Conclusion: After 5 years of follow-up, IM was found to induce favourable and durable survival responses with an acceptable side effect profile in CP-CML patients who hand received prior treatment with alternative agents.