Physicians Hall Front

New Research Findings Offer Relief from Medication’s Side Effects for Chronic Myeloid Leukemia Patients

Milwaukee, Nov. 16, 2020 – Researchers at the Medical College of Wisconsin (MCW) have collaborated with other academic medical institutions to study patients with chronic myeloid leukemia (CML). Tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs) to treat CML have been associated with improved survival. However, patients who take TKIs have been known to develop adverse effects, which include fatigue, depression, pain, sleep disturbance and diarrhea. This study evaluated molecular disease recurrence and patient-reported outcomes after TKI discontinuation for patients with CML.

The study was led by Dr. Ehab Atallah and Dr. Kathryn Flynn, both professors of medicine at MCW. “This study is incredibly important for patients with CML,” says Dr. Flynn, “We found that patients who were able to stop taking the TKI were likely to feel better, with less fatigue and diarrhea in particular.”

The researchers concluded that the discontinuation of TKIs is safe and associated with treatment-free remission for some patients. They found that the patient’s quality of life improved after stopping their TKI but worsened again for those patients who needed to restart a TKI to control their disease.

Researchers believe that these findings will be able to assist patients and physicians in their decision making regarding their discontinuation of TKIs. Patients in sustained deep molecular remission can consider with their physician if stopping TKI is the right decision for them.

In this study MCW collaborated with many institutions: University of Chicago at Silver Cross, Huntsman Cancer Institute at University of Utah, Dana Farber Cancer Institute, Winship Cancer Institute of Wayne State University, Duke University Cancer Institute, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Researcher Center & Seattle Cancer Care Alliance, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, Moffitt Cancer Center, Weill Medical College of Cornell University, UCSF Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center, the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center and Roswell Park Cancer Institute.

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