• BCR::ABL1 M244V confers clinical resistance to asciminib; M244V and other kinase N-lobe mutations confer resistance to asciminib in vitro

  • Mutations in the BCR::ABL1 kinase domain may impair the durability of response to combinations of asciminib and ATP-competitive TKIs.

Secondary kinase domain mutations in BCR::ABL1 represent the most common cause of resistance to tyrosine kinase inhibitor (TKI) therapy in chronic myeloid leukemia patients. The first five approved BCR::ABL1 TKIs target the ATP-binding pocket. Mutations confer resistance to these ATP-competitive TKIs and those approved for other malignancies by decreasing TKI affinity and/or increasing ATP affinity. Asciminib, the first highly active allosteric TKI approved for any malignancy, targets an allosteric regulatory pocket in the BCR::ABL1 kinase C-lobe. As a non-ATP-competitive inhibitor, the activity of asciminib is predicted to be impervious to increases in ATP affinity. Here we report several known mutations that confer resistance to ATP-competitive TKIs in the BCR::ABL1 kinase N-lobe that are distant from the asciminib binding pocket yet unexpectedly confer in vitro resistance to asciminib. Among these is BCR::ABL1 M244V, which confers clinical resistance even to escalated asciminib doses. We demonstrate that BCR::ABL1 M244V does not impair asciminib binding, thereby invoking a novel mechanism of resistance. Molecular dynamics simulations of the M244V substitution implicate stabilization of an active kinase conformation through impact on the -C helix as a mechanism of resistance. These N-lobe mutations may compromise the clinical activity of ongoing combination studies of asciminib with ATP-competitive TKIs.

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