Randomized study on the treatment of chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) in chronic phase with busulfan versus hydroxyurea versus interferon-alpha

R. Hehlmann, B. Anger, D. Messerer, R. Zankovich, L. Bergmann, H. J. Kolb, P. Meyer, U. Essers, U. Queißer, H. Vaupel, F. Walther, D. K. Hossfeld, R. Zimmermann, F. Heiss, S. Mende, F. J. Tigges, U. R. Kleeberg, H. Pralle, W. Kayser, A. TichelliJ. D. Faulhaber, U. Räth, H. Schubert, K. Bross, R. Schlag, L. Schmid, I. Weißenfels, B. Heinze, A. Georgii, W. Queißer, H. Heimpel

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18 Scopus citations


For palliative therapy during the chronic phase of CML busulfan has proved to be the drug of choice. During the past years hydroxyurea and also interferon-alpha have gained increasing significance since they might prolong the duration of the chronic phase. In a multicenter study it is being determined, whether the use of hydroxyurea or of interferon-alpha instead of busulfan prolongs the duration of the chronic phase of Philadelphia positive CML. Additional goals are the examination of whether the types of disease evolution and the terminal phases differ between the treatment groups, and the prospective recognition of prognostic criteria for the duration of the chronic phase of CML. By December 31, 1987, 326 CML-patients had been randomized, 150 for busulfan, 150 for hydroxyurea and 26 for interferon-alpha. The average age is 50 years. 59 patients reached the end of the chronic phase, 55 died. The mean observation time of all patients is 1.34 years. At present no significant difference in survival is recognizable between the busulfan and hydroxyurea groups. Fewer adverse effects have been observed in the hydroxyurea group. Philadelphia chromosome negative patients show a higher average age and tend to have lower white blood cell and platelet counts. The number of patients having received interferon-alpha is still too small to allow evaluation. This report intends to document organization and progress of this study which to our knowledge is, at present, the largest ongoing prospective multicenter study on the therapy of CML.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)87-91
Number of pages5
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1988
Externally publishedYes


  • Busulfan
  • CML
  • Duration of chronic phase
  • Hydroxyurea
  • Interferon-alpha
  • Prospective study


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