Blood Journal
Leading the way in experimental and clinical research in hematology

Dasatinib (BMS-354825) targets an earlier progenitor population than imatinib in primary CML but does not eliminate the quiescent fraction

  1. Mhairi Copland,
  2. Ashley Hamilton,
  3. Lucy J. Elrick,
  4. Janet W. Baird,
  5. Elaine K. Allan,
  6. Niove Jordanides,
  7. Martin Barow,
  8. Joanne C. Mountford, and
  9. Tessa L. Holyoake
  1. From the Section of Experimental Haematology and Haemopoietic Stem Cells, Division of Cancer Sciences and Molecular Pathology, University of Glasgow; and the Department of Haematology, Glasgow Royal Infirmary, Glasgow, United Kingdom.


Dasatinib (BMS-354825), a novel dual SRC/BCR-ABL kinase inhibitor, exhibits greater potency than imatinib mesylate (IM) and inhibits the majority of kinase mutations in IM-resistant chronic myeloid leukemia (CML). We have previously demonstrated that IM reversibly blocks proliferation but does not induce apoptosis of primitive CML cells. Here, we have attempted to overcome this resistance with dasatinib. Primitive IM-resistant CML cells showed only single-copy BCR-ABL but expressed significantly higher BCR-ABL transcript levels and BCR-ABL protein compared with more mature CML cells (P = .031). In addition, CrKL phosphorylation was higher in the primitive CD34+CD38 than in the total CD34+ population (P = .002). In total CD34+ CML cells, IM inhibited phosphorylation of CrKL at 16 but not 72 hours, consistent with enrichment of an IM-resistant primitive population. CD34+CD38 CML cells proved resistant to IM-induced inhibition of CrKL phosphorylation and apoptosis, whereas dasatinib led to significant inhibition of CrKL phosphorylation. Kinase domain mutations were not detectable in either IM or dasatinib-resistant primitive CML cells. These data confirm that dasatinib is more effective than IM within the CML stem cell compartment; however, the most primitive quiescent CML cells appear to be inherently resistant to both drugs.

  • Submitted July 22, 2005.
  • Accepted January 25, 2006.
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