We aimed to compare the cytogenetic and molecular analyses in the assessment of imatinib mesylate response in patients suffering the chronic phase of chronic myelocytic leukemia who were refractory to a-interferon treatment. A total of 117 patients in the chronic phase of chronic myelocytic leukemia were included. The patients were treated with 400 mg/day imatinib mesylate. Bone marrow samples were obtained for the cytogenetic and molecular analyses. Patients without the Ph chromosome were defined as complete cytogenetic responders. Partial cytogenetic response was determined when the Ph chromosome was detected in 1-35% of the cells. Molecular response was determined by quantitative real-time reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (QR-PCR) and defined as no detection of BCR-ABL mRNA. The frequencies of complete and partial cytogenetic response were 29% (n = 34) and 15% (n = 18), respectively. No cytogenetic response was achieved in 56% (n = 65) of the patients. Molecular response was achieved in 62% (n = 21) and 33% (n = 6) of the complete and partial cytogenetic responders, respectively. All of the 65 patients with no cytogenetic response were also molecular nonresponders. We conclude that there is reasonable agreement between the cytogenetic and molecular analyses. Both methods are complementary in the assessment of response to therapy.