Chronic myeloid leukemia following therapy with imatinib mesylate (Gleevec): Bone marrow histopathology and correlation with genetic status
Chromosomes, Human, Pair 6
Chromosomes, Human, Pair 9
We evaluated bone marrow pathologic features and cytogenetic and molecular genetic status of 13 patients with interferon-resistant, chronic-phase chronic myeloid leukemia (CML), treated with imatinib mesylate (Gleevec). All had morphologic evidence of CML in the blood and bone marrow and were positive for bcr-abl by reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction, fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH), or both. Follow-up marrow biopsies, interphase FISH for bcr-abl, and conventional cytogenetics were performed at 3-month intervals (up to 24 months) after therapy initiation. All patients exhibited a reduction in bone marrow cellularity with decreases in myeloid/erythroid ratios at 3 to 6 months after therapy. The percentage of bcr-abl-positive cells by FISH decreased in all patients (pretherapy median, 73%; 3 months median, 47%). Cytogenetic and FISH data defined 2 groups after 6 months of follow-up: 5 patients became negative for bcr-abl by FISH; 8 remained positive, 4 of whom developed signs of clonal cytogenetic evolution. Patients who became negative for bcr-abl had no morphologic evidence of CML at 15 to 24 months of follow-up, whereas patients who remained positive redeveloped morphologic features of CML as cellularity increased. Some bcr-abl-positive patients showed signs of progression, including 2 patients who developed myeloid blast phase. Although all patients demonstrated an initial decrease in bone marrow cellularity after imatinib mesylate therapy, continued follow-up showed that histopathologic findings correlated with genetic response.