What is the role of interferon alfa in the treatment of chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML)?

Updated: May 23, 2021
  • Author: Emmanuel C Besa, MD; Chief Editor: Sara J Grethlein, MD, FACP  more...
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In the past, interferon alfa was the treatment of choice for most patients with CML who were too old for bone marrow transplantation (BMT) or who did not have a matched bone marrow donor. With the advent of tyrosine kinase inhibitors, interferon alfa is no longer considered first-line therapy for CML. It may be used in combination with newer drugs for treatment of refractory cases.

A study by Simonsson et al found that the addition of even relatively short periods of pegylated interferon alfa2b to imatinib increased the major molecular response rate at 12 months of therapy. Lower doses of pegylated interferon alfa2b may enhance tolerability while retaining efficacy and could be considered in future studies. [60]

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