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We retrospectively evaluated 90 patients with chronic myeloid leukemia receiving either upfront original imatinib (OI) or generic imatinib (GI) for the effect of the early molecular response on the long-term outcome. We demonstrated that achieving an optimal response at 3 and 6 months in patients receiving either first-line GI or OI was clearly associated with greater response and event-free survival rates.The molecular response at 3 months of the original imatinib (OI) in patients with chronic myeloid leukemia has prognostic significance; however, this has never been tested for generic imatinib (GI).We evaluated the BCR-ABL1 [international reporting scale (IS)] transcript levels at 3 and 6 months to determine whether an early molecular response (EMR) had a prognostic effect on the outcome among chronic myeloid leukemia patients receiving GI. Ninety patients were divided into 2 groups, according to the imatinib they received, as OI (group A) and GI (group B).Two groups were equally balanced for age, gender, Sokal risk score, and optimal response. The 2 groups did not differ in achieving an EMR at 3 months, and patients with EMR at 3 months had significantly superior complete cytogenetic response and major molecular response rates compared with patients who did not achieve an EMR in both groups. The percentage of an optimal response [BCR-ABL1 (IS), < 1%] and a warning response [BCR-ABL1 (IS), 1%-10%] at 6 months was 93% and 95% for groups A and B, respectively (P = .553). Patients with an optimal response (OR) at both 3 and 6 months had significantly superior event-free survival rates compared with patients without an OR in groups A and B.The results of the present study have demonstrated most probably for the first time that an OR at 3 and 6 months in patients receiving either first-line GI and OI is clearly associated with greater response and event-free survival rates. Prospective randomized trials with larger numbers of patients and longer follow-up periods are needed to address the effect of EMR in patients receiving GI.