Uncommon or delayed adverse events associated with imatinib treatment for chronic myeloid leukemia

Clin Lymphoma Myeloma Leuk. 2010 Oct;10(5):331-5. doi: 10.3816/CLML.2010.n.065.


Imatinib, a tyrosine kinase inhibitor, is the first-line therapy for chronic myeloid leukemia (CML). The majority of patients continue treatment for their lifespan because discontinuation generally results in relapse. Many patients treated with imatinib experience adverse events (AEs) at some time during their treatment. Commonly encountered AEs and their management are well known. However, in addition to the common AEs with imatinib, there is a significant number of patients who display either uncommon or delayed AEs. These events can involve cardiac, renal, or dermatologic problems, and fluid retention. Herein, we review these less-than-common side effects and the hazard of administering imatinib during pregnancy. While chronic treatment with imatinib has revolutionized CML prognosis, physicians should be aware of both the common and uncommon adverse reactions.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antineoplastic Agents / adverse effects
  • Antineoplastic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Benzamides
  • Humans
  • Imatinib Mesylate
  • Leukemia, Myelogenous, Chronic, BCR-ABL Positive / drug therapy*
  • Piperazines / administration & dosage*
  • Piperazines / adverse effects*
  • Prognosis
  • Protein Kinase Inhibitors / adverse effects
  • Protein Kinase Inhibitors / therapeutic use
  • Protein-Tyrosine Kinases / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Pyrimidines / administration & dosage*
  • Pyrimidines / adverse effects*
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Benzamides
  • Piperazines
  • Protein Kinase Inhibitors
  • Pyrimidines
  • Imatinib Mesylate
  • Protein-Tyrosine Kinases