Interferon alpha-2b as therapy for Ph'-positive chronic myelogenous leukemia: A study of 82 patients treated with intermittent or daily administration

G. Alimena, E. Morra, M. Lazzarino, A. M. Liberati, E. Montefusco, D. Inverardi, P. Bernasconi, M. Mancini, E. Donti, F. Grignani, C. Bernasconi, F. Dianzani, F. Mandelli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The authors treated a total of 82 patients with Ph'-positive chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML) with recombinant interferon alpha-2b (IFN α-2b). Sixty-five patients in chronic phase (CP), 28 of whom were untreated and 37 pretreated, and nine patients in accelerated phase (AP), were started on IFN three times a week. Patients in CP were randomized to receive 2 or 5 x 106 IU/m2, while patients in AP were all given the dose of 5 x 106 IU/m2, in addition to concomitant chemotherapy. Patients in CP who were unresponsive to the lower dose were crossed to the higher dose. Of 63 evaluable patients in CP, 43 (68%) responded, 29 (46%) achieved complete hematologic response (CHR), and 14 (22%) achieved partial hematologic response (PHR). The response rate appeared to be significantly influenced by the IFN dose in pretreated patients. Of the nine patients in AP, two attained PHR and one CHR. More recently, eight previously untreated CP cases were submitted to daily IFN administration at doses from 2 to 5 x 106 IU/m2. This daily schedule was also applied to patients who had obtained, with the intermittent treatment, a PHR persisting unmodified for six months (nine patients) or an unstable CHR (five patients). Seven of the eight previously untreated patients, and five of the nine PHR patients crossed to daily IFN reached CHR. In the total series of previously untreated patients, the response rate proved to be significantly influenced by the initial risk status. Cytogenetic improvement was seen in 37 of 53 responders (70%) treated for more than 3 months, the median of Ph'-positive cells declining from 100% to 65% (range 0% to 95%). Complete suppression of Ph' chromosome was observed in one case. The cytogenetic response was persistent for over 6 months in 21 patients, but the lowest value of Ph' positivity was usually unstable. At a median follow-up of 56 weeks, 23 of 36 (64%) CHR patients remain in continued disease control with IFN. A blastic transformation (BT) occurred in seven of 21 unresponsive patients and in one of the 36 CHR patients. The authors' data confirm that IFN α-2b, especially at daily doses, is effective in inducing clinical and cytogenetic response in a good proportion of patients with CML in the benign phase. Longer follow-ups will define the exact influence of this agent on the natural course of the disease.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)642-647
Number of pages6
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1988

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hematology


Dive into the research topics of 'Interferon alpha-2b as therapy for Ph'-positive chronic myelogenous leukemia: A study of 82 patients treated with intermittent or daily administration'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this