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Cardiotoxicity of imatinib mesylate: an extremely rare phenomenon or a major side effect?
  1. Jörg H W Distler1,
  2. Oliver Distler2
  1. 1Department of Internal Medicine 3, University of Erlangen-Nuremberg, Erlangen, Germany
  2. 2Center of Experimental Rheumatology and Integrative Human Physiology, Department of Rheumatology, University Hospital Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland
  1. Correspondence to:
    Dr J H W Distler
    Department of Internal Medicine 3, University of Erlangen-Nuremberg, D-91054 Erlangen, Germany; joerg.distler{at}

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Imatinib mesylate (Gleevec/Glivec) is a small-molecule inhibitor, which blocks selectively the tyrosine kinase activity of c-abl, bcr-abl, platelet-derived growth factor receptor, c-fms and c-kit.1 It is widely used for the treatment of Philadelphia chromosome-positive leukaemia and gastrointestinal stromal tumours.2,3 Imatinib might also become a novel therapeutic option for pulmonary arterial hypertension.4 Furthermore, imatinib is a potent anti-inflammatory and anti-fibrotic drug, and might be a promising candidate for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis and systemic sclerosis.5,6

Kerkelä et al7 recently reported on 10 patients who developed congestive heart failure after taking imatinib mesylate. Histological evaluation of cardiac …

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