All About GLEEVEC:
It Has Proven Benefits
What is GLEEVEC?
GLEEVEC is a type of medication known as a kinase inhibitor. GLEEVEC targets several receptor tyrosine kinases, including those for c-KIT, Bcr-Abl, platelet-derived growth factor, and stem cell factor—preventing or inhibiting activation. The KIT protein on the surface of cells is the suspected cause of most GISTs. When studied in vitro (in an environment outside of a living organism), GLEEVEC works by inhibiting, or turning off, the signal from the KIT protein, so that most of the cancer cells stop growing.
Cytopenias (reduction or lack of certain cell elements in blood circulation) have occurred. Your doctor will test your blood weekly for the first month, biweekly for the second month, and periodically thereafter. In most cases, your doctor will reduce or interrupt your GLEEVEC therapy; in rare cases, if the cytopenia is severe, your doctor may discontinue treatment.
- GLEEVEC® (imatinib mesylate) tablets are indicated for the treatment of patients with KIT (CD117)-positive gastrointestinal stromal tumors (GISTs) that are cancerous, cannot be surgically removed, and/or have spread to other parts of the body
- GLEEVEC is also approved for use after surgery in patients that have had their KIT (CD117)-positive GISTs completely removed
How GLEEVEC is taken
GLEEVEC is available as a once-a-day medication. Unlike many cancer medicines, GLEEVEC comes in a tablet form that you take by mouth instead of by injection.
GLEEVEC is available by prescription only and is supplied as 100-mg and 400-mg tablets. For patients who have difficulty swallowing, GLEEVEC can be dissolved in water or apple juice. You should take GLEEVEC exactly as your doctor tells you.
Severe congestive heart failure (impaired ability of the heart to pump blood) and left ventricular dysfunction (impaired functioning of the left side of the heart) have been reported, particularly in patients with other health issues and risk factors. Patients with heart disease or risk factors for heart disease or history of renal failure will be monitored and treated for the condition.
A study shows GLEEVEC is effective
It is indicated that taking GLEEVEC after surgery may help reduce the risk of recurrence of KIT+ GIST.
Results from the Scandinavian Sarcoma Group (SSG XVIII/AIO or SSG) trial showed that extending adjuvant treatment with GLEEVEC for KIT+ GIST helped prevent the disease from returning and improved patient survival. View study details. Some patients who continued adjuvant treatment for 36 months after surgery decreased the risk of KIT+ GIST recurrence by more than half (54%) compared with patients treated for only 12 months. Click here for more information and talk to your doctor about what treatment is right for you.
Severe liver problems (hepatotoxicity) may occur. Cases of fatal liver failure and severe liver injury requiring liver transplants have been reported with both short-term and long-term use of GLEEVEC. Your doctor will check your liver function before beginning treatment and continue to monitor liver function as needed. If you experience severe liver problems, your doctor may stop your treatment with GLEEVEC until the liver problem has been managed.
Bleeding may occur. Severe gastrointestinal (GI) bleeding has been reported in patients with KIT+ GIST. GI tumor sites may be the cause of this bleeding; therefore, GI symptoms should be monitored at the start of treatment.
In clinical trials on patients with inoperable or metastatic malignant KIT+ GIST, the majority (53%) achieved a response with GLEEVEC.
Gleevec is sometimes associated with GI irritation. GI perforation (small holes or tears in the wall of the stomach or intestine), in some cases fatal, has been reported.
Side Effects Read more
GLEEVEC and Pregnancy Read more