Document Type



Internal Medicine (East Africa)


Background: Imatinib is the gold standard for the treatment of all phases of Philadelphia positive Chronic Myeloid Leukemia (CML). During treatment, patients may develop cytopenia. We aimed to study the baseline characteristics and factors associated with cytopenia at a Nairobi Hospital.

Methods: This was a retrospective case-control study of patients aged ≥18 years on follow-up at the Glivec Inter‑ national Patient Access Program (GIPAP) clinic from 2007 to 2015. The cases consisted of CML patients on imatinib who developed cytopenia. The controls were CML patients on imatinib who did not develop cytopenia. Baseline socio – demographic, clinical, hematologic, and molecular data were retrieved from patients’ fles. Chi square or fshers’ exact tests were used to analyze for diferences between cytopenia and no cytopenia. Binary logistic regressions were employed to identify relationships. Univariate and multivariate analyses were done to identify independent predictors of cytopenia. Odds ratios (OR) were presented including the 95% confdence intervals and respective p values.

Results: A total of 201 patients were studied consisting of ninety-four (94) patients with cytopenia and 107 with no cytopenia. Among the entire population, males were 52, and 42% were aged 36–50 years. Sex, age, marital status, occupation and education level were similar between the cytopenia and no cytopenia groups. Among the 201 patients, 70% had symptoms for >12months before diagnosis, 78.6% had B symptoms at baseline, 80% had a moderate splenomegaly at baseline. Among patients with cytopenia, 40 and 37.4% developed cytopenia within 3months and 3–6months respectively after imatinib initiation. Baseline neutrophilia, neutropenia, anaemia, thrombocytosis, thrombocytopenia was found in 68, 11, 11, 23.5 and 11% respectively. Baseline hemoglobin, neutrophil and platelet level were signifcantly difer‑ ent between the cytopenia and the no cytopenia group. On univariable analysis, baseline anemia with hb<7.9g/ dL (p =0.002), neutropenia (p =0.001), neutrophilia >100,000/mm3 (p =0.002) and thrombocytopenia (p =0.001) increased the odds of developing cytopenia. On multivariable analysis, baseline anaemia (p value <0.002), neutrope‑ nia (p value <0.001), thrombocytopenia (p value, <0.001) and thrombocytosis (p value, 0.033) increased the odds of developing cytopenia.

Conclusion: Odds of cytopenia were higher in presence of baseline cytopenia and thrombocytosis. Clinicians should have a high index of suspicion for these patients.

Publication (Name of Journal)

BMC Cancer

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.