We have identified a specific dual Bcr-Abl/Lyn inhibitor, NS-187 (elsewhere described as CNS-9), which is 25–55 times more potent than imatinib against wild type Bcr-Abl in vitro. To evaluate the potential of NS-187 as a therapeutic agent, we assessed its in vivo activity. When Balb/c mice were given NS-187 orally at a dose of 30 mg/kg, the pharmacokinetic parameters were as follows: Tmax, 2 h; Cmax, 586 ng/ml; AUC0-∝, 2999 ng•h/ml; T1/2, 1.0 h; and bioavailability value (BA), 33%. The maximal tolerated dose (MTD) of NS-187 in Balb/c or Balb/c-nu/nu mice was 200 mg/kg/day (100 mg/kg, twice daily). To test the effect of NS-187 on in vivo tumor growth, Balb/c-nu/nu mice were injected subcutaneously with Bcr-Abl-positive KU812 cells on Day 0 and given NS-187 or imatinib orally twice a day from Day 7 to Day 17. At 20 mg/kg/day, imatinib inhibited tumor growth slightly, while at 200 mg/kg/day, it inhibited tumor growth almost completely. In contrast, at only 0.2 mg/kg/day NS-187 significantly inhibited tumor growth, while at 20 mg/kg/day it completely inhibited tumor growth without any adverse effects. The body weights of the treated tumor-bearing mice were not significantly different from those of untreated mice, even at a dosage of 200 mg/kg/day NS-187. Thus, NS-187 was at least 10-fold more potent than imatinib in vivo with complete inhibition of tumor growth as the end-point. We also tested the ability of NS-187 to suppress tumor growth in another murine tumor model, namely, Balb/c-nu/nu mice intravenously transplanted with BaF3 cells harboring wild type Bcr-Abl. The mice were treated orally with NS-187 or imatinib for 11 days starting on Day 1. All eight untreated mice and all eight mice treated with 400 mg/kg/day imatinib had died by Day 25 due to leukemic cell expansion, and NS-187 significantly prolonged the survival of the mice in a dose-dependent manner. We next examined the ability of NS-187 to block the in vivo growth of BaF3 cells harboring one of the Abl point-mutants M244V, G250E, Q252H, Y253F, T315I, M351T and H396P in Balb/c-nu/nu mice. These mice were treated with NS-187 or imatinib for 11 days starting on Day 1. NS-187 at 200 mg/kg/day significantly prolonged the survival of mice inoculated with BaF3 cells harboring any of these mutants except T315I compared with untreated or imatinib-treated mice (see Figure for an example). Thus, NS-187 was more potent than imatinib and could override the point-mutation-based imatinib-resistance mechanism in vivo. The efficacy and safety of NS-187 for Ph+ leukemias is expected to be verified by early-phase clinical trials.

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