Objective: Chronic eosinophilic leukemia (CEL) is a myeloproliferative disorder characterized by molecular and/or cytogenetic evidence of clonality of eosinophils, marked eosinophilia, and organ damage. In many patients, the transforming mutation FIP1L1-PDGFRalpha and the related CHIC2 deletion are found. The respective oncoprotein, FIP1L1-PDGFRalpha, is considered to play a major role in malignant cell growth in CEL. The tyrosine kinase (TK) inhibitor imatinib (STI571) has been described to counteract the TK activity of FIP1L1-PDGFRalpha in most patients. However, not all patients with CEL show a response to imatinib. Therefore, several attempts have been made to identify other TK inhibitors that counteract growth of neoplastic eosinophils.
Materials and methods: We provide evidence that dasatinib, a multi-targeted kinase inhibitor, blocks the growth and survival of EOL-1, an eosinophil leukemia cell line carrying FIP1L1-PDGFRalpha.
Results: The effects of dasatinib on proliferation of EOL-1 cells were dose-dependent, with an IC50 of 0.5 to 1 nM, which was found to be in the same range when compared to IC50 values produced with imatinib. Dasatinib was also found to induce apoptosis in EOL-1 cells in a dose-dependent manner (IC50: 1-10 nM). The apoptosis-inducing effects of dasatinib on EOL-1 cells were demonstrable by light microscopy, flow cytometry, and in a TUNEL assay. In Western blot experiments, dasatinib completely blocked the phosphorylation of FIP1L1-PDGFRalpha in EOL-1 cells.
Conclusions: Dasatinib inhibits the growth of leukemic eosinophils through targeting of the disease-related oncoprotein FIP1L1-PDGFRalpha. Based on this observation, dasatinib may be considered as a new interesting treatment option for patients with CEL.