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Nat Med. 2012 Mar 18;18(4):521-8. doi: 10.1038/nm.2713.

A common BIM deletion polymorphism mediates intrinsic resistance and inferior responses to tyrosine kinase inhibitors in cancer.

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1
Cancer & Stem Cell Biology Signature Research Programme, Duke-National University of Singapore Graduate Medical School, Singapore.

Abstract

Tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs) elicit high response rates among individuals with kinase-driven malignancies, including chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) and epidermal growth factor receptor-mutated non-small-cell lung cancer (EGFR NSCLC). However, the extent and duration of these responses are heterogeneous, suggesting the existence of genetic modifiers affecting an individual's response to TKIs. Using paired-end DNA sequencing, we discovered a common intronic deletion polymorphism in the gene encoding BCL2-like 11 (BIM). BIM is a pro-apoptotic member of the B-cell CLL/lymphoma 2 (BCL2) family of proteins, and its upregulation is required for TKIs to induce apoptosis in kinase-driven cancers. The polymorphism switched BIM splicing from exon 4 to exon 3, which resulted in expression of BIM isoforms lacking the pro-apoptotic BCL2-homology domain 3 (BH3). The polymorphism was sufficient to confer intrinsic TKI resistance in CML and EGFR NSCLC cell lines, but this resistance could be overcome with BH3-mimetic drugs. Notably, individuals with CML and EGFR NSCLC harboring the polymorphism experienced significantly inferior responses to TKIs than did individuals without the polymorphism (P = 0.02 for CML and P = 0.027 for EGFR NSCLC). Our results offer an explanation for the heterogeneity of TKI responses across individuals and suggest the possibility of personalizing therapy with BH3 mimetics to overcome BIM-polymorphism-associated TKI resistance.

PMID:
22426421
DOI:
10.1038/nm.2713
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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