Older patients with chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) may have higher mortality and rates of vascular events such as myocardial infarction, stroke, and pulmonary embolism compared to patients without cancer, according to a study published in Clinical Lymphoma, Myeloma & Leukemia.1

Researchers led by Kathleen Lang, PhD, of Boston Health Economics in Waltham, MA, looked at 1466 patients with CML through the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results Program cancer registry as well as Medicare claims data.

Patients were at least 66 years and had an incident diagnosis of CML from 2004 to 2009, and they were matched 1:1 to a comparison cohort of patients without cancer.

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The researchers found patients with CML had a mortality rate of 63% compared to 23% in those without cancer. In addition, patients with CML had higher rates of myocardial infarction, stroke, and peripheral arterial disease.

Among the patients with CML, 15% had tyrosine kinase inhibitor (TKI) claims, 97% of whom received imatinib. The study found that event rates were not elevated for patients treated with TKIs compared with the overall population of observed patients with CML.

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“Event rates were not elevated among TKI-treated patients, suggesting that vascular event risk in those CML patients was driven primarily by underlying factors associated with CML,” the authors concluded.


  1. Lang K, McGarry L, Huang H, et al. Mortality and vascular events among elderly patients with chronic myeloid leukemia (CML): a retrospective analysis of linked Seer-Medicare data [published online ahead of print February 5, 2016]. Clin Lymphoma, Myeloma Leuk. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.clml.2016.01.006.