Varying effects of tyrosine kinase inhibitors on platelet function-A need for individualized CML treatment to minimize the risk for hemostatic and thrombotic complications?

Cancer Med. 2020 Jan;9(1):313-323. doi: 10.1002/cam4.2687. Epub 2019 Nov 12.


Since their introduction, tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs, eg, imatinib, nilotinib, dasatinib, bosutinib, ponatinib) have revolutionized the treatment of chronic myeloid leukemia (CML). However, long-term treatment with TKIs is associated with serious adverse events including both bleeding and thromboembolism. Experimental studies have shown that TKIs can cause platelet dysfunction. Herein, we present the first side-by-side investigation comparing the effects of currently used TKIs on platelet function and thrombin generation when used in clinically relevant concentrations. A flow cytometry multiparameter protocol was used to study a range of significant platelet activation events (fibrinogen receptor activation, alpha granule, and lysosomal exocytosis, procoagulant membrane exposure, and mitochondrial permeability changes). In addition, thrombin generation was measured in the presence of TKIs to assess the effects on global hemostasis. Results show that dasatinib generally inhibited platelet function, while bosutinib, nilotinib, and ponatinib showed less consistent effects. In addition to these general trends for each TKI, we observed a large degree of interindividual variability in the effects of the different TKIs. Interindividual variation was also observed when blood from CML patients was studied ex vivo with whole blood platelet aggregometry, free oscillation rheometry (FOR), and flow cytometry. Based on the donor responses in the side-by-side TKI study, a TKI sensitivity map was developed. We propose that such a sensitivity map could potentially become a valuable tool to help in decision-making regarding the choice of suitable TKIs for a CML patient with a history of bleeding or atherothrombotic disease.

Keywords: chronic myeloid/myelogenous leukemia; coagulation; hemostasis; personalized medicine; platelets; tyrosine kinase inhibitors.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aniline Compounds / adverse effects
  • Blood Platelets / drug effects*
  • Blood Platelets / physiology
  • Dasatinib / adverse effects
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Female
  • Flow Cytometry
  • Healthy Volunteers
  • Hemorrhage / blood
  • Hemorrhage / chemically induced*
  • Hemorrhage / prevention & control
  • Humans
  • Imatinib Mesylate
  • Imidazoles / adverse effects
  • Leukemia, Myelogenous, Chronic, BCR-ABL Positive / blood
  • Leukemia, Myelogenous, Chronic, BCR-ABL Positive / drug therapy*
  • Male
  • Nitriles / adverse effects
  • Platelet Activation / drug effects
  • Protein Kinase Inhibitors / adverse effects*
  • Pyridazines / adverse effects
  • Pyrimidines / adverse effects
  • Quinolines / adverse effects
  • Thrombin / biosynthesis
  • Thromboembolism / blood
  • Thromboembolism / chemically induced*
  • Thromboembolism / prevention & control
  • Young Adult


  • Aniline Compounds
  • Imidazoles
  • Nitriles
  • Protein Kinase Inhibitors
  • Pyridazines
  • Pyrimidines
  • Quinolines
  • ponatinib
  • bosutinib
  • Imatinib Mesylate
  • Thrombin
  • nilotinib
  • Dasatinib