Metoclopramide treatment blocks CD93-signaling-mediated self-renewal of chronic myeloid leukemia stem cells

Cell Rep. 2021 Jan 26;34(4):108663. doi: 10.1016/j.celrep.2020.108663.


Self-renewal is a key characteristic of leukemia stem cells (LSCs) responsible for the development and maintenance of leukemia. In this study, we identify CD93 as an important regulator of self-renewal and proliferation of murine and human LSCs, but not hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs). The intracellular domain of CD93 promotes gene transcription via the transcriptional regulator SCY1-like pseudokinase 1 independently of ligation of the extracellular domain. In a drug library screen, we identify the anti-emetic agent metoclopramide as an efficient blocker of CD93 signaling. Metoclopramide treatment reduces murine and human LSCs in vitro and prolongs survival of chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) mice through downregulation of pathways related to stemness and proliferation in LSCs. Overall, these results identify CD93 signaling as an LSC-specific regulator of self-renewal and proliferation and a targetable pathway to eliminate LSCs in CML.

Keywords: CD93; chronic myeloid leukemia; leukemia stem cells; metoclopramide; self-renewal.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Dopamine D2 Receptor Antagonists / pharmacology
  • Dopamine D2 Receptor Antagonists / therapeutic use*
  • Humans
  • Leukemia, Myelogenous, Chronic, BCR-ABL Positive / drug therapy*
  • Metoclopramide / pharmacology
  • Metoclopramide / therapeutic use*
  • Mice


  • Dopamine D2 Receptor Antagonists
  • Metoclopramide