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Nilotinib: a novel encouraging therapeutic option for chronic myeloid leukemia patients with imatinib resistance or intolerance

Authors Giovanni Martinelli, Ilaria Iacobucci, Simona Soverini, Francesca Palandri, Fausto Castagnetti et al

Published 15 November 2007 Volume 2007:1(2) Pages 121—127

Giovanni Martinelli, Ilaria Iacobucci, Simona Soverini, Francesca Palandri, Fausto Castagnetti, Gianantonio Rosti, Michele Baccarani

Institute of Hematology and Medical Oncology “Seràgnoli”, University of Bologna, Bologna, Italy

Abstract: Although high rates of complete hematologic and cytogenetic remission have been observed in patients with chronic phase chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) treated with imatinib, a short duration of response with eventual emergence of imatinib resistance has also been reported in a subset of CML patients. The most frequent clinically relevant mechanisms that change imatinib sensitivity in BCR-ABL-transformed cells are mutations within the Abl kinase domain, affecting several of its properties. Crystal structure analysis of the Abl-imatinib complex has proven helpful in identifying potential critical residues that hinder interactions of imatinib with mutated Abl. This has led to the development of a second generation of targeted therapies such as nilotinib and dasatinib, already in phase II clinical trials or SKI-606 and MK-0457 in phase I trials. In this review, we discuss the activity of nilotinib, developed by Novartis using a rational drug design strategy in which imatinib served as the lead compound. Preliminary studies demonstrated that nilotinib has more efficacy than imatinib in inhibiting proliferation of BCR-ABL-dependent cells, a relatively safety profile and clinical efficacy in all phases of CML.
Keywords: Chronic myeloid leukemia, imatinib resistance, nilotinib

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