To assess the effect of age on response and compliance we performed a sub-analysis within a phase II trial of the GIMEMA CMLWorking Party (CML/002/STI571). Since the WHO cut-off age to define an older patient is 65 years, we identified: 226/284 (80%) younger patients (below 65 years) and 58/284 (20%) older patients (above 65 years) before starting imatinib. Responses (hematologic and cytogenetic) were lower in older age group but progression free survival and overall survival probabilities (median observation time 3 years) were the same. Moreover, among complete cytogenetic responders, no differences were found in the level of molecular response between the 2 age groups. As probably expected, older patients experienced more adverse events (AEs), both hematologic and non-hematologic: this worsen compliance, however, did not prevent a long term outcome similar to younger ones. CML

Supported by: COFIN 2003 (Molecular therapy of Ph-positive leukemias), by FIRB 2001, by the University of Bologna (grants 60%), by the Italian Association for Cancer Research (A.I.R.C.), by Fondazione del Monte di Bologna e Ravenna, by European LeukemiaNet founds, and by A.I.L. grants.

Disclosure: No relevant conflicts of interest to declare.

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