Low-dose imatinib mesylate leads to rapid induction of major molecular responses and achievement of complete molecular remission in FIP1L1-PDGFRA-positive chronic eosinophilic leukemia

Jelena V Jovanovic, Joannah Score, Katherine Waghorn, Daniela Cilloni, Enrico Gottardi, Georgia Metzgeroth, Philipp Erben, Helena Popp, Christoph Walz, Andreas Hochhaus, Catherine Roche-Lestienne, Claude Preudhomme, Ellen Solomon, Jane Apperley, Michela Rondoni, Emanuela Ottaviani, Giovanni Martinelli, Finella Brito-Babapulle, Giuseppe Saglio, Rüdiger Hehlmann, Nicholas C P Cross, Andreas Reiter, David Grimwade
Blood 2007 June 1, 109 (11): 4635-40
The FIP1L1-PDGFRA fusion gene is a recurrent molecular lesion in eosinophilia-associated myeloproliferative disorders, predicting a favorable response to imatinib mesylate. To investigate its prevalence, 376 patients with persistent unexplained hypereosinophilia were screened by the United Kingdom reference laboratory, revealing 40 positive cases (11%). To determine response kinetics following imatinib, real-time quantitative-polymerase chain reaction (RQ-PCR) assays were developed and evaluated in samples accrued from across the European LeukemiaNet. The FIP1L1-PDGFRA fusion transcript was detected at a sensitivity of 1 in 10(5) in serial dilution of the EOL-1 cell line. Normalized FIP1L1-PDGFRA transcript levels in patient samples prior to imatinib varied by almost 3 logs. Serial monitoring was undertaken in patients with a high level of FIP1L1-PDGFRA expression prior to initiation of imatinib (100 mg/d-400 mg/d). Overall, 11 of 11 evaluable patients achieved at least a 3-log reduction in FIP1L1-PDGFRA fusion transcripts relative to the pretreatment level within 12 months, with achievement of molecular remission in 9 of 11 (assay sensitivities 1 in 10(3)-10(5)). In 2 patients, withdrawal of imatinib was followed by a rapid rise in FIP1L1-PDGFRA transcript levels. Overall, these data are consistent with the exquisite sensitivity of the FIP1L1-PDGFRalpha fusion to imatinib, as compared with BCR-ABL, and underline the importance of RQ-PCR monitoring to guide management using molecularly targeted therapies.

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