Clinical impact of imatinib was evaluated in 20 patients (median age, 37 years; range, 15-67 years) with newly diagnosed Philadelphia chromosome-positive acute lymphoblastic leukemia (Ph+ ALL), who were administered with induction chemotherapy of daunorubicin, vincristine, prednisolone, and L-asparaginase, along with imatinib 600 mg/day during remission induction and 400 mg/day during consolidation courses. One patient died on day 14 from septic shock, while the remaining 19 achieved complete remission (CR). In total, 15 patients underwent allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplantation (HCT) during first CR. After median follow-up period of 799 days, six patients experienced recurrence; two with early recurrence within 100 days, one with leptomeningeal recurrence at 11 month, and three with post-HCT recurrence. Eight patients died. Median CR duration (821 days) and median patient survival (894 days) in the study were significantly longer by 2.9- and 2.3-fold, respectively, when compared to those of 18 historical patients treated with same regimen of combination chemotherapy without imatinib. Toxicities of the combined treatment were manageable and included grade 4 myelosuppression (n = 20) and reversible > or = grade 3 hyperbilirubinemia (n = 4). Beneficial clinical effects were observed when imatinib was added to combination chemotherapy in patients with newly diagnosed Ph+ ALL. Further studies with larger number of patients are necessary.