Leukemia Cancer Drugs
May Cause Heart Failure - Gleevec and Other Tyrosine Kinase Inhibitors
Toxic and May Cause Problems
July 23rd 2006
New drugs used to treat leukemia, including Gleevec, may cause serious
heart damage, according to U.S. researchers. The researchers say that
people taking the medication should continue to take it, but should also
be closely monitored for heart damage.
The researchers from Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia, Tufts
University School of Medicine in Boston, University of Texas released
the caution of Sunday, after they found evidence that treatment caused
heart failure in 10 patients. They say that people taking other drugs
in the same class, called tyrosine kinase inhibitors, may also be at
risk for heart damage.
The drugs have been very successful in treating chronic myelogenous
leukemia or CML, in most patients. They have found that 80 to 90 percent
of the patients taking the drug were cancer free for at least five
years. The drugs have also been successful in treating a rare form of
stomach cancer called gastrointestinal stromal tumors or GIST.