The success of imatinib therapy in chronic myeloid leukemia is highly influenced by its active transport into target cells. However, the methodology for analytical evaluation of intracellular drug concentration is rare and usually reliant upon the use of radioactively labeled drugs. More specifically, there is no published method available in the literature for the determination of imatinib concentration in granulocytes. To gain further insight into the intracellular drug uptake a very reliable two-stage sample concentration procedure was devised and coupled with a sensitive ultra-high performance liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry. The reliability of this sample preparation and sensitivity of the analysis was confirmed by a successful validation of all necessary method parameters to an impressive lower limit of quantification of 0.5 ng imatinib per 106 cells still at the signal to noise ratio of 670. The usefulness of the method is further improved with only 6 mL of blood being necessary for patient analysis. The method has been applied to blood samples of 13 CML patients treated with imatinib and all the measured intracellular drug concentrations were within the validated range. These and further measurements will enable the research of factors which may, besides blood plasma concentration, influence the individual's response to imatinib therapy. Furthermore, individualisation of dosing based on the directly measured targeted drug delivery could be possible.