Cell killing is a critical pharmacological activity of imatinib to eradicate Bcr/Abl+ leukemias. We found that imatinib kills Bcr/Abl+ leukemic cells by triggering the Bcl-2-regulated apoptotic pathway. Imatinib activated several proapoptotic BH3-only proteins: bim and bmf transcription was increased, and both Bim and Bad were activated posttranslationally. Studies using RNAi and cells from gene-targeted mice revealed that Bim plays a major role in imatinib-induced apoptosis of Bcr/Abl+ leukemic cells and that the combined loss of Bim and Bad abrogates this killing. Loss of Bmf or Puma had no effect. Resistance to imatinib caused by Bcl-2 overexpression or loss of Bim (plus Bad) could be overcome by cotreatment with the BH3 mimetic ABT-737. These results demonstrate that Bim and Bad account for most, perhaps all, imatinib-induced killing of Bcr/Abl+ leukemic cells and suggest previously undescribed drug combination strategies for cancer therapy.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||6|
|Journal||Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America|
|State||Published - Oct 3 2006|
- Imatinib mesylate
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