The treatment of chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) has changed significantly since the late 1990s, with the development and subsequent approval by the Food and Drug Administration of imatinib (in 2001), the first of a class of medications called tyrosine kinase inhibitors, which target the specific abnormality that causes CML.
Before that time, patients were treated with other therapy, including interferon and bone marrow transplant, and had very poor outcomes. Since the approval of imatinib, patients now have over 80-85% long-term survival. However, not all patients respond to or are able to tolerate imatinib.
Fortunately, in the last several years, two other agents (these are referred to as second-generation tyrosine kinase inhibitors) – dasatinib (Sprycel®) and nilotinib (Tasigna©) have both been shown to be at least equally effective (and likely better) in treating CML. They have different side effects, but either can be used as initial therapy for CML or after imatinib therapy.
This may be helpful to you:
Another helpful site is Cancer.Net, from the American Society of Clinical Oncology: http://www.cancer.net (just enter CML into the search area).
Thank you for your question.