Clinical resistance to the kinase inhibitor STI-571 in chronic myeloid leukemia by mutation of Tyr-253 in the Abl kinase domain P-loop
Leukemia, Myelogenous, Chronic, BCR-ABL Positive
The Abl tyrosine kinase inhibitor STI-571 is effective therapy for stable phase chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) patients, but the majority of CML blast-crisis patients that respond to STI-571 relapse because of reactivation of Bcr-Abl signaling. Mutations of Thr-315 in the Abl kinase domain to Ile (T315I) were previously described in STI-571-resistant patients and likely cause resistance from steric interference with drug binding. Here we identify mutations of Tyr-253 in the nucleotide-binding (P) loop of the Abl kinase domain to Phe or His in patients with advanced CML and acquired STI-571 resistance. Bcr-Abl Y253F demonstrated intermediate resistance to STI-571 in vitro and in vivo when compared with Bcr-Abl T315I. The response of Abl proteins to STI-571 was influenced by the regulatory state of the kinase and by tyrosine phosphorylation. The sensitivity of purified c-Abl to STI-571 was increased by a dysregulating mutation (P112L) in the Src homology 3 domain of Abl but decreased by phosphorylation at the regulatory Tyr-393. In contrast, the Y253F mutation dysregulated c-Abl and conferred intrinsic but not absolute resistance to STI-571 that was independent of Tyr-393 phosphorylation. The Abl P-loop is a second target for mutations that confer resistance to STI-571 in advanced CML, and the Y253F mutation may impair the induced-fit interaction of STI-571 with the Abl catalytic domain rather than sterically blocking binding of the drug. Because clinical resistance induced by the Y253F mutation might be overcome by dose escalation of STI-571, molecular genotyping of STI-571-resistant patients may provide information useful for rational therapeutic management.