Patient- and physician-reported pain after tyrosine kinase inhibitor discontinuation among patients with chronic myeloid leukemia

Kathryn E. Flynn, Ehab Atallah, Li Lin, Neil P. Shah, Richard T. Silver, Richard A. Larson, Javier Pinilla-Ibarz, James E. Thompson, Vivian G. Oehler, Jerald P. Radich, Vamsi Kota, Michael J. Mauro, Charles A. Schiffer, Jorge Cortes, Kevin P. Weinfurt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


For patients with optimally treated chronic myeloid leukemia (CML), discontinuation of tyrosine kinase inhibitor (TKI) therapy can lead to treatment-free remission. In previous trials, TKI discontinuation has been associated with increased musculoskeletal pain in some patients (“withdrawal syndrome”), based on physician-reported adverse events (AE). Patient-reported pain has not been described. The Life After Stopping TKI study was a 14-site prospective, non-randomized clinical trial of TKI discontinuation. We defined increased pain after discontinuation as: (i) a physician-reported pain AE, (ii) a 2-level increase in self-reported musculoskeletal pain (4-level single item), or (iii) initiation of a medication for pain. We plotted the trajectory of patient-reported pain over time using a piecewise mixed-effects ordinal logistic model. Within 3 months of discontinuation, 35 of 172 patients (20.3%) had a physician-reported pain AE, 22 of 172 (12.8%) had an increase in self-reported pain, and 18 of 154 (11.7%) initiated a pain medication. Agreement among these measures was limited; overall, 60 of 172 patients (34.9%) had increased pain. Three patients (1.7%) restarted a TKI because of pain. The model-predicted trajectory showed an increase in pain in the first 3 months followed by a decrease, returning to baseline levels by 6 months and further decreasing after that. This trajectory was similar among patients who did and did not restart TKI, suggesting that resuming a TKI for withdrawal syndrome may be necessary for some, but other approaches to manage pain should be tried so that patients can remain in treatment-free remission when possible.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2641-2649
Number of pages9
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hematology


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