Studies have shown that some patients with chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML) who have responded well to the drug imatinib can stop taking the drug after they achieve a very low level of CML cells, and that nearly half of them do not experience a recurrence of their cancer even after being off imatinib for about three years. Among those who do have a recurrence, almost all who begin taking imatinib again respond to treatment.
Nilotinib is a drug for CML that works in a similar way as imatinib. The purpose of this study is to see if patients who achieve a very low level of CML cells with initial nilotinib treatment can stop taking nilotinib and maintain this low level of CML cells. Patients whose CML returns will begin taking nilotinib again, and researchers will examine their response to treatment. Investigators also want to survey patients about their side effects while on and off nilotinib treatment. Nilotinib is a capsule that is taken orally (by mouth).