ABL single nucleotide polymorphisms may masquerade as BCR-ABL mutations associated with resistance to tyrosine kinase inhibitors in patients with chronic myeloid leukemia

Haematologica. 2008 Sep;93(9):1389-93. doi: 10.3324/haematol.12964. Epub 2008 Jul 4.


The BCR-ABL K247R change is based on a rare single nucleotide polymorphism occurring likewise in healthy controls and non-hematologic cell types. Despite its juxtaposition to the P-loop, functional analysis showed no alteration compared to non-mutated BCR-ABL. We sought to investigate if other changes in the BCR-ABL kinase domain should be considered as single nucleotide polymorphisms rather than acquired mutations. A total of 911 chronic myeloid leukemia patients after failure or suboptimal response to imatinib were screened for BCR-ABL kinase domain mutations. Single nucleotide polymorphism analysis was based on the search for nucleotide changes in corresponding normal, non-translocated ABL alleles by ABL allele-specific PCR following mutation analysis. In addition to the K247R polymorphism we uncovered five new single nucleotide polymorphisms within the BCR-ABL kinase domain; two of them led to amino acid changes. Single nucleotide polymorphisms could theoretically contribute to primary but not to secondary resistance to tyrosine kinase inhibitors and must therefore be distinguished from acquired mutations. Novel point mutations should be confirmed by analyzing the normal ABL alleles to exclude polymorphisms.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Alleles
  • Base Sequence
  • Chronic Disease
  • Drug Resistance, Neoplasm / drug effects*
  • Female
  • Fusion Proteins, bcr-abl / genetics*
  • Humans
  • Leukemia, Myeloid / drug therapy*
  • Leukemia, Myeloid / genetics*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Mutation / genetics
  • Polymorphism, Single Nucleotide / genetics*
  • Protein Kinase Inhibitors / therapeutic use*
  • Protein-Tyrosine Kinases / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • Protein-Tyrosine Kinases / metabolism
  • Sequence Analysis


  • Protein Kinase Inhibitors
  • Protein-Tyrosine Kinases
  • Fusion Proteins, bcr-abl