Abstract 1249

Poster Board I-271


B-cell receptor (BCR) signaling plays an important role in the pathogenesis of chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL). However, blocking BCR signaling with dasatinib, an inhibitor of SRC kinase, produced variable results in pre-clinical and clinical studies. We aim to define the molecular mechanisms underlying the differential dasatinib sensitivity and to uncover more effective therapeutic targets in CLL.

Experimental Design

Fresh CLL B cells were treated with dasatinib and cell viability was followed. The CLL cases were then divided into good and poor responders. The cellular response was correlated with the activities of BCR signaling molecules as well as with molecular and cytogenetic prognostic factors.

Results and Conclusions

Among 44 CLL cases, dasatinib treatment reduced cell viability by 2-90%, with an average reduction of 48% on day four of culture. The drug induced CLL cell death via the intrinsic apoptotic pathway mediated by reactive oxygen species. Unexpectedly, phosphorylation of SRC family kinases was inhibited by dasatinib in good as well as poor responders. As opposed to SRC family kinases, activities of two downstream molecules, SYK and PLCγ2, correlate well with the apoptotic response of CLL cells to dasatinib. Thus, SYK inhibition predicts cellular response to dasatinib. SYK, together with PLCγ2, may serve as potential biomarkers to predict dasatinib therapeutic response in patients. From the pathogenic perspective, our study suggests the existence of alternative mechanisms or pathways that activate SYK independent of SRC kinase activities. The study further implicates that SYK might serve as a more effective therapeutic target in CLL treatment.


Lee:Bristol-Myers Squibb Research & Development: Employment. Coleman:Bristol-Myers Squibb Research & Development: Consultancy.

Author notes


Asterisk with author names denotes non-ASH members.