Hematologic Remission

Hematologic remission is the goal of purely palliative therapy. Hematologic remission does not impact the natural history of CML to a significant degree. In the Italian CML Study Group trial comparing palliative hydroxyurea or busulfan with interferon a, complete hematologic remission was obtained in 68-87% of patients after 8 months of any therapy.1 Those patients treated without interferon had a median survival of 52 months and only 29% were alive at 6 years. These results are comparable to what one might expect in the absence of any therapy.2 3 In contrast, patients treated with either interferon or imatinib enjoy both increased hematologic remission rates and improved survival compared to hydroxyurea or busulfan. The improved survival rates achieved by interferon and imatinib stem directly from their ability to induce cytogenetic remission, a characteristic both hydroxyurea and busulfan lack.

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