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Poster presented at American Society of Clinical Oncology in Chicago Illinois.

Background: Tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKI) are the current standard therapy for patients with chronic myeloid leukemia (CML). Fluid retention and pleural effusions have been reported in patients treated with TKIs, particularly with dasatinib. Although TKIs have been shown to reverse pulmonary hypertension (PH) in animal models, there have been some reports of development of reversible PH with dasatinib.

Methods: We conducted a retrospective analysis on 401 patients diagnosed with CML in chronic phase (CP) who were treated with TKIs (imatinib, dasatinib, or nilotinib) as initial therapy for CML and had a transthoracic echocardiogram (TTE) done at some point during the course of therapy. PH was diagnosed if the patient had an estimated right ventricular systolic pressure (RVSP) of 35 mm Hg or greater. Secondary causes of PH (systolic or diastolic dysfunction on TTE, chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases [COPD], obstructive sleep apnea [OSA] and pulmonary embolism) were investigated during chart review.

Results: Twenty (23%) out of 87 patients had evidence of PH by TTE; median age 57 years, with 46% being males. Six pts (30%) received nilotinib 400mg twice daily, 4 (20%) patients had imatinib (400mg; n=1, 600mg; n=1 and 800mg daily; n=2), and 10 (50%) patients received dasatinib (dose varied 40-140mg daily). Five (25%) patients had coronary artery disease, 9 (45%) had systemic hypertension, 2 (10%) had COPD and 3 (15%) had OSA. Thirteen pts had serial TTE to compare the progression of PH including 6 (7%) who had a TTE prior to starting TKI. Among these 13 pts with serial TTE, 7 had rising RVSP with one patient having mild global hypokinesia, another with diastolic dysfunction and another with OSA. Four of those 7 patients had normal RVSP on their TTE prior to starting therapy. Six other pts had improvement in the RVSP on serial TTE, 4 of them with systemic hypertension. Two of those 6 patients had elevated RVSP on their TTE prior to starting therapy; one pt had no change. Eleven patients had pleural effusions (7 dasatinib, 3 imatinib, 1 nilotinib) associated with PH.

Conclusions: TKI therapy is occasionally associated with development of PH, but RVSP may improve spontaneously in some patients. A prospective study is needed to further investigate the relationship between TKIs and the development of PH.

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