Nilotinib Effects in Parkinson's disease and Dementia with Lewy bodies

J Parkinsons Dis. 2016 Jul 11;6(3):503-17. doi: 10.3233/JPD-160867.


Background: We evaluated the effects of low doses of the tyrosine kinase Abelson (Abl) inhibitor Nilotinib, on safety and pharmacokinetics in Parkinson's disease dementia or dementia with Lewy bodies.

Objectives: The primary outcomes of this study were safety and tolerability; pharmacokinetics and target engagement were secondary, while clinical outcomes were exploratory.

Methods: Twelve subjects were randomized into 150 mg (n = 5) or 300 mg (n = 7) groups and received Nilotinib orally every day for 24 weeks.

Results: This study shows that 150 mg and 300 mg doses of Nilotinib appear to be safe and tolerated in subjects with advanced Parkinson's disease. Nilotinib is detectable in the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) and seems to engage the target Abl. Motor and cognitive outcomes suggest a possible beneficial effect on clinical outcomes. The CSF levels of homovanillic acid are significantly increased between baseline and 24 weeks of treatment. Exploratory CSF biomarkers were measured.

Conclusions: This small proof-of-concept study lacks a placebo group and participants were not homogenous, resulting in baseline differences between and within groups. This limits the interpretations of the biomarker and clinical data, and any conclusions should be drawn cautiously. Nonetheless, the collective observations suggest that it is warranted to evaluate the safety and efficacy of Nilotinib in larger randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trials.

Keywords: Lewy bodies; Nilotinib; Parkinson; dopamine; homovanillic acid; synuclein; tau.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Dementia / drug therapy*
  • Dementia / etiology
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Lewy Body Disease / drug therapy
  • Outcome Assessment, Health Care*
  • Parkinson Disease / complications
  • Parkinson Disease / drug therapy*
  • Pyrimidines / administration & dosage
  • Pyrimidines / adverse effects
  • Pyrimidines / pharmacokinetics
  • Pyrimidines / pharmacology*


  • 4-methyl-N-(3-(4-methylimidazol-1-yl)-5-(trifluoromethyl)phenyl)-3-((4-pyridin-3-ylpyrimidin-2-yl)amino)benzamide
  • Pyrimidines