Effective and selective inhibition of chronic myeloid leukemia primitive hematopoietic progenitors by the dual Src/Abl kinase inhibitor SKI-606

Heiko Konig, Tessa L. Holyoake, Ravi Bhatia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

82 Scopus citations


Imatinib mesylate (imatinib) is highly effective in the treatment of chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) but is less effective in eliminating CML stem cells. We investigated whether SKI-606, a potent Bcr-Abl and Src kinase inhibitor without anti-PDGF or c-Kit activity, could effectively target primitive CML progenitors. CML and normal progenitors were cultured with SKI-606 or imatinib. SKI-606 effectively inhibited Bcr-Abl kinase activity in CML CD34+ cells and inhibited Src phosphorylation more potently than imatinib. However, SKI-606 and imatinib resulted in similar suppression of CML primitive and committed progenitor proliferation and growth in CFC and LTC-IC assays. Exposure to either agent alone or in combination resulted in only modest increase in apoptosis. Evaluation of downstream signaling pathways indicated that Akt and STAT5 activity was not changed, but a delayed increase in MAPK activity was seen at high concentrations of SKI-606. SKI-606 inhibited normal progenitor proliferation to a lesser extent than imatinib. SKI-606 effectively inhibits Bcr-Abl and Src kinase activity and inhibits CML progenitor growth with relatively little effect on normal progenitors. However, SKI-606 does not demonstrate increased ability to eliminate primitive CML progenitors by apoptosis compared with imatinib, emphasizing the need for additional strategies besides Bcr-Abl kinase inhibition for curative therapy of CML.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2329-2338
Number of pages10
Issue number4
StatePublished - Feb 15 2008


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Immunology
  • Hematology
  • Cell Biology

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