Very elderly (> 75 years) chronic myeloid leukaemia (CML) patients at diagnosis are sometimes treated with different doses of imatinib (IM) based on concomitant diseases and physicians’ judgement. However, data on long-term follow-up of these patients are still lacking. To investigate treatment response and outcome, we retrospectively revised an Italian database of 263 very elderly CML patients receiving IM from the time of diagnosis. Median age at diagnosis was 78.5 years and 56% of patients had 2 or 3 comorbidities. A complete haematological and cytogenetic response were achieved in 244 (92.8%) and 184 (69.9%) patients, respectively. In 148 cases (56.2%), a major molecular response was observed, which was deep in 63 cases (24%). A blastic phase occurred in 11 patients (4.2%). After a median follow-up of 45.0 months, 93 patients have died (9 from disease progression) and 104 (39.5%) are still in treatment with IM. Incidence of grades 3–4 haematological and non-haematological toxicity was similar to those reported in younger patients. Five-year event-free survival was 54.5% and 45.2% in patients ≤ 80 years and > 80 years, respectively (p = 0.098). Five years OS was 75.7% and 61.6% in patients ≤80 years and > 80 years, respectively (p = 0.003). These findings show that IM plays an important role in frontline treatment of very elderly CML patients without increased toxicity and any effort to treat these patients with standard doses should be made in order to achieve responses as in younger subjects. © 2019, Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature.
- Chronic myeloid leukaemia
- Tyrosine kinase inhibitor