Imatinib mesylate (STI-571) reduces Bcr-Abl-mediated vascular endothelial growth factor secretion in chronic myelogenous leukemia

John M.L. Ebos, Jennifer Tran, Zubin Master, Daniel Dumont, Junia V. Melo, Elisabeth Buchdunger, Robert S. Kerbel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

62 Scopus citations


A large and diverse spectrum of oncogenes has been implicated as a contributor to angiogenesis in solid tumors based, in part, on its ability to induce proangiogenic growth factors such as vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), and the fact that various antioncogenic signaling inhibitor drugs have been shown to reverse such proangiogenic effects both in vitro and in vivo. Because leukemias are now also considered to be angiogenesis-dependent malignancies, we asked whether a similar paradigm might exist for the BCR-ABL oncogene and the Bcr-Abl targeting drug, STI-571 (imatinib mesylate), in the context of chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML) cells. We found that levels of VEGF expression in BCR-ABL-positive K562 cells were reduced in vitro by treatment with STI-571 in a dosedependent fashion. Transfection of BCR-ABL into murine myeloid 32D and human megakaryocyte MO7e hematopoietic cells resulted in enhanced VEGF expression, which could be further elevated by the exposure to cytokines such as interleukin 3 and granulocyte macrophage colony-stimulating factor. We also found that conditioned media taken from 32D-p210-transfected cells could stimulate human umbilical vein endothelial cells by increasing phosphorylation of VEGF-R2/KDR and the downstream serine/threonine kinase PKB/Akt, an important regulator of endothelial cell survival. Moreover, amplification of BCR-ABL in STI-571-resistant cells was associated with elevated VEGF expression levels which could be reversed by treatment with higher concentrations of STI-571. Taken together, our results implicate BCR-ABL as a possible regulator of CML angiogenesis and raise the possibility that STI-571 could mediate some of its anti-CML properties in vivo through an angiogenesis-dependent mechanism.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)89-95
Number of pages7
JournalMolecular Cancer Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Dec 1 2002

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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