The BCR-ABL1 transcript type influences response and outcome in Philadelphia chromosome-positive chronic myeloid leukemia patients treated frontline with imatinib

Am J Hematol. 2017 Aug;92(8):797-805. doi: 10.1002/ajh.24774. Epub 2017 May 30.


The most frequent BCR-ABL1 fusion transcripts in chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) are the e13a2 (b2a2) and the e14a2 (b3a2) ones. In the imatinib era few studies addressing the prognostic significance of the BCR-ABL1 transcript type in early chronic phase CML have been published. Overall, these studies suggest that in e14a2 patients the response to imatinib is faster and deeper. To evaluate if the BCR-ABL1 transcript type (e13a2 compared to e14a2) affect the response to imatinib and the clinical outcome in newly diagnosed adult CML patients, 559 patients enrolled in 3 prospective studies (NCT00514488, NCT00510926, observational study CML/023) were analyzed. A qualitative PCR was performed at baseline: 52% patients had a e14a2 transcript, 37% a e13a2 transcript, 11% co-expressed both transcripts and 1% had other rare transcripts. The median follow-up was 76 months (95% of the patients had at least a 5-year observation). The complete cytogenetic response rates were comparable in e14a2 and e13a2 patients. The median time to MR3.0 (6 and 12 months) and MR4.0 (41 and 61 months) was significantly shorter for e14a2 patients compared to e13a2 patients, with a higher cumulative probability of MR3.0 (88% and 83%, P < .001) and MR4.0 (67% and 52%, P = .001). The 7-year overall survival (90% and 83%, P = .017), progression-free survival (89% and 81%, P = .005) and failure-free survival (71% and 54%, P < .001) were significantly better in patients with e14a2 transcript. In conclusion, patients with e13a2 transcript had a slower molecular response with inferior response rates to imatinib and a poorer long-term outcome.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Antineoplastic Agents / administration & dosage
  • Antineoplastic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Female
  • Fusion Proteins, bcr-abl / genetics*
  • Humans
  • Imatinib Mesylate / administration & dosage
  • Imatinib Mesylate / therapeutic use
  • Leukemia, Myelogenous, Chronic, BCR-ABL Positive / diagnosis
  • Leukemia, Myelogenous, Chronic, BCR-ABL Positive / drug therapy
  • Leukemia, Myelogenous, Chronic, BCR-ABL Positive / genetics*
  • Leukemia, Myelogenous, Chronic, BCR-ABL Positive / mortality*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Grading
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Prognosis
  • Proportional Hazards Models
  • Protein Kinase Inhibitors / administration & dosage
  • Protein Kinase Inhibitors / therapeutic use
  • Transcription, Genetic*
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Young Adult


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Protein Kinase Inhibitors
  • Imatinib Mesylate
  • Fusion Proteins, bcr-abl