c-Abl Expression in Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia Cells: Clinical and Therapeutic Implications

Lin K, Glenn MA, Harris RJ, Duckworth AD, Dennett S, Cawley JC, Zuzel M, Slupsky JR
Source: Cancer Res
Publication Date: (2006)
Issue: 66(15): 7801-9
Research Area:
Cancer Research/Cell Biology
Immunotherapy / Hematology
Cells used in publication:
B cell, human
Species: human
Tissue Origin: blood
Nucleofectorâ„¢ I/II/2b
c-Abl is important for normal B-cell development, but little is known about the function of this nonreceptor tyrosine kinase in chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL). Therefore, the aim of the present study was to examine the clinical, therapeutic, and pathogenetic importance of c-Abl in this disease. We show that the malignant cells of CLL predominantly express the type 1b splice variant of c-Abl and that the expression of c-Abl protein is higher in CLL cells than in normal peripheral blood B cells. Moreover, we show that the levels of c-Abl protein expression correlate positively with tumor burden and disease stage, and negatively with IgV(H) mutation. We also show that STI-571, an inhibitor of c-Abl kinase activity, induces apoptosis of CLL cells with high c-Abl expression levels through a mechanism involving inhibition of nuclear factor kappaB. We conclude that overexpression of c-Abl is likely to play a pathogenetic role in CLL and that STI-571 may be of potential use in the treatment of this disease.