Clinical implications of discordant early molecular responses in CML patients treated with imatinib

Sergio Siragusa, Elena Tirrò, Elena Tirrò, Alessandra Malato, Agostino Antolino, Donato Mannina, Stefano Forte, Valentina Zammit, Silvia Rita Vitale, Sabina Russo, Antonio Spitaleri, Giuseppe Mineo, Fabio Stagno, Maria Stella Pennisi, Stefana Impera, Paolo Vigneri, Livia Manzella, Ferdinando Porretto, Bruno Martino, Caterina MusolinoMichele Massimino, Maurizio Musso, Francesco Di Raimondo, Stefania Stella

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


A reduction in BCR-ABL1/ABL1IS transcript levels to <10% after 3 months or <1% after 6 months of tyrosine kinase inhibitor therapy are associated with superior clinical outcomes in chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) patients. In this study, we investigated the reliability of multiple BCR-ABL1 thresholds in predicting treatment outcomes for 184 subjects diagnosed with CML and treated with standard-dose imatinib mesylate (IM). With a median follow-up of 61 months, patients with concordant BCR-ABL1/ABL1IS transcripts below the defined thresholds (10% at 3 months and 1% at 6 months) displayed significantly superior rates of event-free survival (86.1% vs. 26.6%) and deep molecular response (≥ MR4; 71.5% vs. 16.1%) compared to individuals with BCR-ABL1/ABL1IS levels above these defined thresholds. We then analyzed the outcomes of subjects displaying discordant molecular transcripts at 3-and 6-month time points. Among these patients, those with BCR-ABL1/ABL1IS values >10% at 3 months but <1% at 6 months fared significantly better than individuals with BCR-ABL1/ABL1IS <10% at 3 months but >1% at 6 months (event-free survival 68.2% vs. 32.7%; p < 0.001). Likewise, subjects with BCR-ABL1/ABL1IS at 3 months >10% but <1% at 6 months showed a higher cumulative incidence of MR4 compared to patients with BCR-ABL1/ABL1IS <10% at 3 months but >1% at 6 months (75% vs. 18.2%; p < 0.001). Finally, lower BCR-ABL1/GUSIS transcripts at diagnosis were associated with BCR-ABL1/ABL1IS values <1% at 6 months (p < 0.001). Our data suggest that when assessing early molecular responses to therapy, the 6-month BCR-ABL1/ABL1IS level displays a superior prognostic value compared to the 3-month measurement in patients with discordant oncogenic transcripts at these two pivotal time points.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages11
JournalInternational Journal of Molecular Sciences
Publication statusPublished - 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Catalysis
  • Molecular Biology
  • Spectroscopy
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Inorganic Chemistry


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