Analysis of Survival of Patients with Chronic Myeloid Leukemia Treated with Imatinib in the Last 15 Years in Lebanon.

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In the 2000s, the introduction of the tyrosine kinase inhibitor (TKI), imatinib, improved the survival outcomes of patients with chronic myeloid leukemia (CML). In Lebanon, we rapidly adopted this treatment strategy. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first study reporting the survival rates of Lebanese CML patients. We examined the rates of major molecular response (MMR) and complete cytogenetic response (CCyR) and analyzed the overall survival, progression-free survival, and event-free survival of CML patients treated with front-line imatinib in 3 university hospitals in Lebanon.


We retrospectively reviewed the medical records of 46 patients diagnosed with CML and treated with front-line imatinib 400 mg/day from 2000 and followed up to 2015. In all patients, initially, 2 diagnostic tests were performed: cytogenetic analysis and qualitative molecular testing of the BCR-ABL transcript. The male-to-female sex ratio was 3:1. The median age at diagnosis was 49 years, and the mean age was 44.52 years. At diagnosis, 46 patients were in the chronic phase. All patients started imatinib 400 mg/day. Of the 46 patients, 35 had a typical karyotype, 8 an atypical karyotype, and 3 hypoploidism.


The MMR rate at 18 months was 58.69%. The cumulative CCyR rate at 18 months of therapy with imatinib at the standard dose was 67.39%. The event-free survival rate was 75.86% and 74.14% at 5 and 8 years, respectively. The progression-free survival rate was 77.59% and 75.86% at 5 and 8 years, respectively. The overall survival rate was 98.27% and 98.27% at 5 and 8 years, respectively. Of the 46 patients, 12 developed disease progression and were salvaged by second-generation TKIs. These 12 patients were still alive with a MMR.


In our study population, the achievement of a MMR and CCyR and overall survival, progression-free survival, and event-free survival were similar to previous published data. Reaching high survival rates with a first-generation TKI in a country with limited resources is a reasonable treatment approach for CML patients.

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