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Targeting survival pathways in chronic myeloid leukaemia stem cells

By A. Sinclair, A.L. Latif and T.L. Holyoake


Chronic myeloid leukaemia (CML) is a clonal myeloproliferative disorder characterized by the presence of a fusion oncogene BCR-ABL, which encodes a protein with constitutive TK activity. The implementation of tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs) marked a major advance in CML therapy; however, there are problems with current treatment. For example, relapse occurs when these drugs are discontinued in the majority of patients who have achieved a complete molecular response on TKI and these agents are less effective in patients with mutations in the BCR-ABL kinase domain. Importantly, TKI can effectively target proliferating mature cells, but do not eradicate quiescent leukaemic stem cells (LSCs), therefore allowing disease persistence despite treatment. It is essential that alternative strategies are used to target the LSC population. BCR-ABL activation is responsible for the modulation of different signalling pathways, which allows the LSC fraction to evade cell death. Several pathways have been shown to be modulated by BCR-ABL, including PI3K/AKT/mTOR, JAK-STAT and autophagy signalling pathways. Targeting components of these survival pathways, alone or in combination with TKI, therefore represents an attractive potential therapeutic approach for targeting the LSC. However, many pathways are also active in normal stem cells. Therefore, potential targets must be validated to effectively eradicate CML stem cells while sparing normal counterparts. This review summarizes the main pathways modulated in CML stem cells, the recent developments and the use of novel drugs to target components in these pathways which may be used to target the LSC population

Publisher: 'Wiley'
Year: 2013
DOI identifier: 10.1111/bph.12183
OAI identifier:
Provided by: Enlighten
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