Omacetaxine mepesuccinate in the treatment of intractable chronic myeloid leukemia

Onco Targets Ther. 2014 Jan 31:7:177-86. doi: 10.2147/OTT.S41786. eCollection 2014.


In a significant proportion of patients with chronic myeloid leukemia, resistance to BCR-ABL tyrosine kinase inhibitors develops due to acquisition of BCR-ABL kinase domain mutations and insensitivity of leukemia stem cells to tyrosine kinase inhibitors. Omacetaxine mepesuccinate (formerly called homoharringtonine) is a natural alkaloid that inhibits protein synthesis and induces cell death. Omacetaxine mepesuccinate has been recently approved by the US Food and Drug Administration to treat patients with chronic myeloid leukemia who failed to respond to multiple tyrosine kinase inhibitors and/or acquired the BCR-ABL-T315I mutation. In this review, we discuss the use and effectiveness of omacetaxine mepesuccinate in the treatment of chronic myeloid leukemia, with coverage of its pharmacology, mode of action, and pharmacokinetics. We believe that omacetaxine mepesuccinate will be beneficial to many patients with chronic myeloid leukemia who do not respond well to tyrosine kinase inhibitors.

Keywords: BCR-ABL; biomarker; cancer stem cells; chronic myeloid leukemia; hematopoietic stem cells; leukemic stem cells.

Publication types

  • Review