Leukemia Home > CML and Gleevec

One of the conditions that Gleevec® (imatinib mesylate) is used to treat is leukemia, particularly chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML). This is a slowly progressing disease in which bone marrow stem cells develop into many abnormal granulocytes. Some of these cells never become mature white blood cells; these are called blasts. Over time, the granulocytes and blasts crowd out the red blood cells and platelets in the bone marrow.
Before treating CML with Gleevec, another drug called interferon-alpha is usually used first. If this medication fails, or if the cancer comes back, then Gleevec is used. People with CML who have an abnormal chromosome called the Philadelphia chromosome (Ph chromosome) are given Gleevec as a first-line treatment.
(Click Gleevec Uses to learn more about the conditions this drug can treat, including off-label uses; whether children can take it; how it affects older adults, and more.)
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Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
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