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Int J Hematol. 2001 Apr;73(3):278-91.

Mechanisms of transformation by the BCR/ABL oncogene.

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  • 1Department of Adult Oncology, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts 02115, USA.


The Philadelphia chromosome generates a chimeric oncogene in which the BCR and c-ABL genes are fused. The product of this oncogene, BCR/ABL, has elevated ABL tyrosine kinase activity, relocates to the cytoskeleton, and phosphorylates multiple cellular substrates. BCR/ABL transforms hematopoietic cells and exerts a wide variety of biological effects, including reduction in growth factor dependence, enhanced viability, and altered adhesion of chronic myelocytic leukemia (CML) cells. Elevated tyrosine kinase activity of BCR/ABL is critical for activating downstream signal transduction and for all aspects of transformation. This review will describe mechanisms of transformation by the BCR/ABL oncogene and opportunities for clinical intervention with specific signal transduction inhibitors such as STI-571 in CML.

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