Sequential use of second-generation tyrosine kinase inhibitors following imatinib therapy in pediatric chronic myeloid leukemia: A report from the Japanese Pediatric Leukemia/Lymphoma Study Group

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The details of the sequential use of imatinib for first-line treatment followed by second-generation tyrosine kinase inhibitors (2G-TKIs) for pediatric chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) are still unknown. This study analyzed clinical responses and adverse effects of the use of 2G-TKIs following imatinib in pediatric chronic phase (CP)-CML.


The Japanese Pediatric Leukemia/Lymphoma Study Group conducted a retrospective study of patients with newly diagnosed CML from 1996 to 2011. A total of 152 cases that received imatinib as first-line therapy were analyzed.


Excluding 46 cases treated with hematopoietic stem cell transplantation before nilotinib and dasatinib became available, 31 of 106 patients changed to 2G-TKIs. The primary reason for changing from imatinib was poor response, followed by intolerance, with the main reason for the latter being musculoskeletal events. Switches from imatinib to 2G-TKIs with intolerance occurred significantly earlier than switches with poor response. Sixteen and 15 patients were treated with nilotinib and dasatinib, respectively, following imatinib therapy. After switching to 2G-TKIs, the response status improved in 63% of evaluable patients. The adverse effect profiles of nilotinib and dasatinib tended to be different, with hyperbilirubinemia observed in 33% of nilotinib-treated patients, but in none of the cases with dasatinib.


This retrospective study represents the first series of children and adolescents in whom sequential use of imatinib followed by 2G-TKIs was reported. These data provide useful insights into the selection of 2G-TKIs as first-line treatment for children and adolescents with CP-CML.

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