For most patients with chronic myeloid leukemia, tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs) have turned a fatal disease into a manageable chronic condition. Imatinib, the first BCR-ABL1 TKI granted regulatory approval, has been surpassed in terms of molecular responses by the second-generation TKIs nilotinib, dasatinib, and bosutinib. Recently, ponatinib was approved as the only TKI with activity against the T315I mutation. Although all TKIs are associated with nonhematologic adverse events (AEs), experience with imatinib suggested that toxicities are typically manageable and apparent early during drug development. Recent reports of cardiovascular AEs with nilotinib and particularly ponatinib and of pulmonary arterial hypertension with dasatinib have raised concerns about long-term sequelae of drugs that may be administered for decades. Here, we review what is currently known about the cardiovascular toxicities of BCR-ABL1 TKIs, discuss potential mechanisms underlying cardiovascular AEs, and elucidate discrepancies between the reporting of such AEs between oncology and cardiovascular trials. Whenever possible, we provide practical recommendations, but we concede that cause-directed interventions will require better mechanistic understanding. We suggest that chronic myeloid leukemia heralds a fundamental shift in oncology toward effective but mostly noncurative long-term therapies. Realizing the full potential of these treatments will require a proactive rational approach to minimize long-term cardiovascular and cardiometabolic toxicities.
© 2015 by American Society of Clinical Oncology.