Interactions between the histone deacetylase (HDAC) inhibitors suberanoylanilide hydroxamic acid (SAHA) and sodium butyrate (SB) and the heat shock protein (Hsp) 90 antagonist 17-allylamino 17-demethoxygeldanamycin (17-AAG) have been examined in Bcr-Abl(+) human leukemia cells (K562 and LAMA84), including those sensitive and resistant to STI571 (imatinib mesylate). Cotreatment with 17-AAG and SAHA or SB synergistically induced mitochondrial dysfunction (cytochrome c and apoptosis-inducing factor release), caspase-3 and -8 activation, apoptosis, and growth inhibition. Similar effects were observed in LAMA84 cells and K562 cells resistant to STI571, as well as in CD34(+) cells isolated from the bone marrows of three patients with chronic myelogenous leukemia. These events were associated with increased binding of Bcr-Abl, Raf-1, and Akt to Hsp70, and inactivation of extracellular signal-regulated kinase 1/2 and Akt. In addition, 17-AAG/SAHA abrogated the DNA binding and the transcriptional activities of signal transducer and activator of transcription (STAT) 5 in K562 cells, including those ectopically expressing a constitutively active STAT5A construct. Cotreatment with 17-AAG and SAHA also induced down-regulation of Mcl-1, Bcl-xL, and B-Raf; up-regulation of Bak; cleavage of 14-3-3 proteins; and a profound conformational change in Bax accompanied by translocation to the membrane fraction. Moreover, ectopic expression of Bcl-2 attenuated cell death induced by this regimen, implicating mitochondrial injury in the lethality observed. Together, these findings raise the possibility that combining HDAC inhibitors with the Hsp90 antagonist 17-AAG may represent a novel strategy against Bcr-Abl(+) leukemias, including those resistant to STI571.