Drug resistance and BCR-ABL kinase domain mutations in Philadelphia chromosome–positive acute lymphoblastic leukemia from the imatinib to the second-generation tyrosine kinase inhibitor era: The main changes are in the type of mutations, but not in the frequency of mutation involvement
Patients with Philadelphia chromosome–positive (Ph+) acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) frequently relapse on imatinib with acquisition of BCR-ABL kinase domain (KD) mutations. To analyze the changes that second-generation tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs) have brought in mutation frequency and type, a database review was undertaken of the results of all the BCR-ABL KD mutation analyses performed in the authors' laboratory from January 2004 to January 2013.
Interrogation of the database retrieved 450 mutation analyses in 272 patients with Ph+ ALL. Prescreening of samples was performed with denaturing high-performance liquid chromatography (D-HPLC), followed by direct sequencing of D-HPLC–positive cases.
BCR-ABL KD mutations were detected in 70% of imatinib-resistant patients, with T315I, E255K, and Y253H mutations accounting for 75% of cases. Seventy-eight percent of the patients reported to be resistant to second-generation TKIs after imatinib failure were positive for mutations, and 58% of them had multiple mutations. Analysis of patients relapsing on dasatinib revealed a newly acquired T315I mutation in almost two-thirds of the cases. Direct sequencing detected no mutations at diagnosis, even in patients who relapsed after a few months.
Second-generation TKIs ensure a more rapid debulking of the leukemic clone and have much fewer insensitive mutations, but long-term disease control remains a problem, and the T315I mutation is revealed to be an even more frequent enemy. BCR-ABL KD mutation screening of patients with Ph+ ALL who are receiving imatinib or second-generation TKIs would be a precious ally for timely treatment optimization. In contrast, the clinical usefulness of conventional direct sequencing at diagnosis seems to be very low. Cancer 2014;120:1002–1009. © 2013 American Cancer Society.