GM-CSF can improve the cytogenetic response obtained with interferon-alpha therapy in patients with chronic myelogenous leukemia

J. Cortes, H. Kantarjian, S. O'Brien, R. Kurzrock, M. Keating, M. Talpaz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

51 Scopus citations


Patients with chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML) who achieve a major cytogenetic remission when treated with interferon-α (IFN-A) have a survival advantage when compared to patients with no cytogenetic response. We investigated the effect of combining granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF) with IFN-A in the cytogenetic response of patients with minor responses to IFN-A alone. CML patients were eligible if they had shown sensitivity to IFN-A as determined by achievement of a hematologic or cytogenetic response, but failed to achieve or lost a major cytogenetic response after a minimum of 12 months of therapy with IFN-A alone. Patients received GM-CSF 30 μg/m2 daily, subcutaneously and the dose was escalated to 60 μg/m2 if tolerated. IFN-A was continued at the same dose being received by the patient and escalated when possible. Fourteen evaluable patients were included, 13 in chronic phase and one in accelerated phase. The best response prior to GM-CSF was a transient major cytogenetic response in two patients (14%), minor cytogenetic response in nine (64%), and complete hematologic response in three (22%). The median time on IFN-A prior to the start of GM-CSF was 39 months (range 12-72 months). Four patients achieved a significant cytogenetic response, including two complete (14%) and two partial (14%) cytogenetic remissions during therapy. One partial cytogenetic remission converted to complete shortly after therapy was discontinued. Two other patients had a significant reduction in the percentage of Philadelphia chromosome-positive metaphases. The dose of IFN-A could be escalated in half of the patients treated. No toxicity could be attributed to the addition of GM-CSF. We conclude that the addition of GM-CSF to the treatment with IFN-A in CML patients who are sensitive to IFN-A alone but fail to achieve a major cytogenetic response may be beneficial in some patients and should be further investigated.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)860-864
Number of pages5
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1998
Externally publishedYes


  • Chronic myelogenous leukemia
  • Cytogenetic response
  • GM-CSF
  • Interferon-alfa

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hematology
  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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