Generic Name: imatinib

Pronunciation: N/A

Abbreviation: N/A

Other Market Name: N/A

Drug Class: Targeted Therapy Medications

Company: Novartis

Approval Status: Approved

Generic Version Available: Yes

Experimental Code: N/A

Drug Indication

Gleevec, a kinase inhibitor, was one of the first targeted therapies for cancer treatment. It is approved for many indications including Philadelphia chromosome positive (Ph+) chronic myeloid leukemia and acute lymphoblastic leukemia, chronic eosinophilic leukemia, mastocytosis and gastrointestinal stromal tumor.

General Info

Gleevec is a protein tyrosine kinase inhibitor that targets BCR-ABL, an abnormal tyrosine kinase produced by the Philadelphia chromosome mutation in people with certain types of leukemia. It also inhibits other receptor tyrosine kinases including platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF), stem cell factor (SCF) and c-KIT.

Studies showed that Gleevec inhibits proliferation of leukemia cells and other cells that grow out of control in blood cancers, and slows progression of gastrointestinal stromal tumor. It was one of the first targeted therapies, approved in 2001.


Dosing Info:

Gleevec is a tablet taken once or twice daily with food, with the dose depending on the type of cancer. It may be used by both adults and children.

Side Effects

Common side effects include swelling, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, muscle cramps, joint pain, skin rash and fatigue. Gleevec can cause depletion of red blood cells (anemia), white blood cells (neutropenia) and platelets (thrombocytopenia), which can lead to infections and easy bleeding. Potentially serious side effects may include severe swelling or edema, heart, liver and kidney problems, gastrointestinal damage, severe skin reactions and tumor lysis syndrome, a reaction that can occur when cancer cells die suddenly. Gleevec may cause fetal harm if used during pregnancy.

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Last Reviewed: November 29, 2018