Chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML) is a hematological stem cell disorder caused by increased and unregulated growth of myeloid cells in the bone marrow, and the accumulation of excessive white blood cells. Abelson tyrosine kinase (ABL) is a non-receptor tyrosine kinase involved in cell growth and proliferation and is usually under tight control. However, 95% of CML patients have the ABL gene from chromosome 9 fused with the breakpoint cluster (BCR) gene from chromosome 22, resulting in a short chromosome known as the Philadelphia chromosome. This Philadelphia chromosome is responsible for the production of BCR-ABL, a constitutively active tyrosine kinase that causes uncontrolled cellular proliferation. An ABL inhibitor, imatinib, was approved by the FDA for the treatment of CML, and is currently used as first line therapy. However, a high percentage of clinical relapse has been observed due to long term treatment with imatinib. A majority of these relapsed patients have several point mutations at and around the ATP binding pocket of the ABL kinase domain in BCR-ABL. In order to address the resistance of mutated BCR-ABL to imatinib, 2nd generation inhibitors such as dasatinib, and nilotinib were developed. These compounds were approved for the treatment of CML patients who are resistant to imatinib. All of the BCR-ABL mutants are inhibited by the 2nd generation inhibitors with the exception of the T315I mutant. Several 3rd generation inhibitors such as AP24534, VX-680 (MK-0457), PHA- 739358, PPY-A, XL-228, SGX-70393, FTY720 and TG101113 are being developed to target the T315I mutation. The early results from these compounds are encouraging and it is anticipated that physicians will have additional drugs at their disposal for the treatment of patients with the mutated BCR-ABL-T315I. The success of these inhibitors has greater implication not only in CML, but also in other diseases driven by kinases where the mutated gatekeeper residue plays a major role.
Chronic myelogenous leukemia, CML, ABL, BCR-ABL, T315I, imatinib, dasatinib, nilotinib
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