HealthDay News – Dasatinib is associated with improved survival for pediatric patients with Philadelphia chromosome-positive acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), according to a study published online January 16 in JAMA Oncology.

Shuhong Shen, MD, PhD, from the Shanghai Jiao Tong University School of Medicine, and colleagues conducted an open-label randomized trial at 20 hospitals in China involving patients aged 0 to 18 years with Philadelphia chromosome-positive ALL. Patients were randomly assigned to either daily dasatinib or imatinib (92 and 97 patients, respectively) in the context of intensive chemotherapy without prophylactic cranial irradiation.

The researchers found that the 4-year event-free and overall survival rates were 71.0 and 88.4%, respectively, in the dasatinib group and 48.9 and 69.2%, respectively, in the imatinib group. The 4-year cumulative risk for any relapse was 19.8 and 34.4% in the dasatinib and imatinib groups, respectively; the four-year cumulative risk for an isolated central nervous system relapse was 2.7 and 8.4%, respectively. There was no difference between the treatment groups in the frequency of severe toxic effects.

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“The present study provides promising early outcome data supporting the use of a dasatinib-based regimen for Philadelphia chromosome-positive ALL,” write the authors of an accompanying editorial. “It also highlights some key challenges that remain in the management of this disease.”

Several authors disclosed financial ties to pharmaceutical companies, including Bristol-Myers Squibb, which manufactures dasatinib.

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