So Gleevec is to most of us CML patients a wonder drug that helps us get on with our lives, but not for everyone. It does not cure the cancer however gives most of us a prolonged life, but for some patients it doesn’t stop the disease. However this article is quite interesting Finding Key To Cancer Drug Gleevec’s Limitations as it states for most who stop Gleevec (not all however) the CML comes back.
“Until imatinib was introduced in 2001, people with CML faced a grim prognosis, with few surviving five years after diagnosis unless they received bone marrow transplants. Imatinib has reversed that prospect, allowing 95 percent of people with CML to survive five years.
Yet it soon became clear that the disease almost always returns without maintenance treatments of imatinib. Imatinib treatment cures the disease in at best 5 percent of cases. Maintenance treatments are a concern, because the drug can cause side effects such as extreme fatigue, nausea, diarrhea and muscle pain. These force 15 percent of cancer patients to stop taking imatinib; some then undergo bone marrow transplants, the only treatment known to cure CML
Ross says that the study findings point to a new goal in CML treatment: to find ways to make imatinib specifically kill the leukemia-initiating cells that at present remain unaffected by the drug.”