Continuous complete hematological and cytogenetic remission with molecular minimal residual disease 9 years after discontinuation of interferon-α in a patient with Philadelphia chromosome-positive chronic myeloid leukemia

W. Verbeek, H. König, J. Boehm, D. Kohl, C. Lange, T. Heuer, C. Scheibenbogen, H. E. Reis, A. Hochhaus, U. Graeven

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10 Scopus citations


Interferon-α has been used as standard therapy for patients with Philadelphia-positive chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) for more than 20 years. Recently randomized trials have shown a superiority of the tyrosine kinase inhibitor imatinib in respect to its efficacy to induce complete hematological and cytogenetic remissions and more importantly in overall survival. Although follow-up is much shorter for imatinib than for interferon-α, this data changed the treatment algorithms in this disease. At the end of the era of interferon-α as a single-drug first-line treatment for most patients we present a case report which exemplifies a rare but exciting property of interferon-α in CML: the induction of complete hematological and cytogenetic remissions which can persist over years after discontinuation of the drug. Hence, the enrollment of CML patients in clinical trials which explore a combination treatment of imatinib and interferon-α is warranted.


  • Chronic myeloid leukemia
  • Interferon-α
  • Minimal residual disease
  • Remission, long-term

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hematology

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