This patient-friendly article is about chemotherapy drug, Dasatinib which is used in the treatment of chronic myeloid leukaemia (CLL). Also, research published in the NCI Cancer Bulletin in 2007 reports that it may be extremely beneficial in adult patients with a form of acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL) who have developed resistance or do not respond to imatinib (Gleevec). Dasatinib is in a class of medications called protein-tyrosine kinase inhibitors. It works by blocking the action of an abnormal protein that signals cancer cells to multiply. This helps stop the spread of cancer cells.

Research from the University of Washington reported in Cancer Watch 2009 states that it can also be beneficial with prostate cancer and also to inhibit osteoclast (cells that break down bone) activity. Dasatinib is taken in tablet form on an ongoing basis.

Side effects are generally mild but can include: lowered resistance to infection, anaemia, bruising and bleeding, fluid retention (sometimes in the lining of the lung), diarrhoea, nausea and vomiting, headaches, aches and pains, skin changes, fatigue.

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Second string Leukaemia drug outperforms Gleevec

Patients using the second-line drug dasatinib (also known as Sprycel) as the first line of defense against chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) experience more positive results compared to patients who use the current approved initial therapy. A multinational Phase III study proved that dasatanib produced faster, better responses in 11% more of CML patients than the current first-line drug imatinib also known as Gleevec. (New England Journal of Medicine, June 17)

CML is caused by the abnormal Philadelphia chromosome, which produces the aberrant protein Bcr-Abl. This protein creates an overproduction of a type of white blood cell that feeds the cancer.

Dasatinib inhibits the action of the Bcr-Abl protein. It is currently given to patients who either cannot tolerate imatinib or whose CML resists imatinib.

The drug imatinib, is currently the first line of therapy for CML patients. It has increased the five-year survival rate for the disease from 50% to 90%.

However, after one year, only 30% to 40% of patients using imatinib achieve a state of complete cytogenetic response (CCyR), or the absence of the Philadelphia chromosome that causes the disease.

According to MD Anderson, patients who achieve CCyR within a year of treatment have a more favorable long-term survival rate.

The Phase III study involved 519 newly diagnosed CML patients who had received no prior treatment for the disease. Participants were randomly split into two groups: 259 patients received 100 milligrams of dasatinib once daily and 260 patients received 400 milligrams of imatinib once daily.

After a minimum one-year follow-up, rates of confirmed CCyR were:

77% for those taking dasatinib 

66% for those taking imatinib

Go to: 10 ways to improve your chemotherapy success and reduce side-effects

Other articles that you may find interesting are:

  1. A diet for Chemotherapy
  2. Immunotherapy overview
  3. A to Z Guide to Complementary Therapies

Go to: Return to the CANCERactive drug list

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