Monitoring the Monitoring of CML Patients

Chronic myeloid leukemia are not monitored closely enough

(RxWiki News) When monitored and managed properly, the outlook is quite good for people living with chronic myeloid leukemia (CML). There are three targeted therapies that are effective in controlling this disease. One of the keys to success is close monitoring.

People with CML who are receiving Gleevec (imatinib) are not being monitored closely enough – meaning their disease isn’t being managed in the best way.

"Keep your follow-up doctor visits."

This study was a collaborative effort involving Novartis, which manufactures Gleevec, the Analysis Group and researchers at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center.

The purpose of this study was to see if patients were being monitored according to National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) and European LeukemiaNet (ELN) guidelines.

The NCCN suggests that as a rule CML patients should be seen every 3-6 months. These visits are supposed to monitor the patient’s response to medication and switch to another therapy if and when a drug no longer achieves treatment milestones.

For this study, researchers looked at the charts of nearly 300 people who were being treated with Gleevec. These records were gathered from 28 community practices throughout the U.S. Study members had been taking Gleevec for a median (middle number out of the group) of 320 days.

The study found that regular monitoring of patients dropped off considerably after the first three months of treatment – from 98.7 percent to 60.4 percent during months 4-6 and then to 39.3 percent after the first year.

Because of this under-monitoring, researchers suggest that among people being treated with Gleevec “a significant portion of patients with suboptimal response [are] left undetected,” the authors wrote.

Additionally, the study found that switching to another CML medication was much lower than guidelines.

This study was presented at the 2012 American Society of Clinical Oncology meeting. All research is considered preliminary before it is published in a peer-reviewed journal.

Several of the authors have financial relationships with pharmaceutical companies, including Novartis, and other commercial enterprises.

Review Date: 
August 29, 2012