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Resistance to imatinib in patients with chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML) or Philadelphia chromosome-positive acute lymphoblastic leukemia (Ph+ ALL) has emerged as a significant clinical issue. Dasatinib is a tyrosine kinase inhibitor that has 325-fold greater in vitro activity against native BCR-ABL (breakpoint cluster region-Abelson leukemia virus) compared with imatinib and can overcome primary (intrinsic) and secondary (acquired) imatinib resistance. Here, we review the clinical profile of dasatinib in imatinib-resistant and -intolerant patients and share clinical approaches for managing adverse events (AEs) to ensure maximum patient benefit. References were obtained through literature searches on PubMed as well as from the Proceedings of Annual Meetings of the American Society of Clinical Oncology, the American Society of Hematology, and European Hematology Association. Phase II and III studies of dasatinib in patients with imatinibresistant or -intolerant CML in any phase or Ph+ ALL were selected for discussion. Dasatinib is currently indicated for the treatment of patients with imatinib-resistant or -intolerant CML or Ph+ ALL. AEs associated with dasatinib are typically mild to moderate, and are usually resolved with temporary treatment interruption and/or dose adjustments. A Phase III dose optimization study showed that in patients with chronic phase (CP) CML, 100 mg once-daily dasatinib improves the safety profile, particularly pleural effusion and thrombocytopenia, while maintaining efficacy compared with the previously recommended dose of 70 mg twice-daily. Dasatinib has a manageable safety profile. For patients with CP CML, a new recommended starting dose of 100 mg once daily has recently been approved. The recommended dose for patients with advanced CML or Ph+ ALL remains 70 mg twice daily.


This article was originally published in Journal of Hematology and Oncology, volume 2, issue 10, in 2009. DOI: 10.1186/1756-8722-2-10


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