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Leukemia. 2013 Apr;27(4):914-24. doi: 10.1038/leu.2012.348. Epub 2012 Nov 29.

Rapid mobilization of cytotoxic lymphocytes induced by dasatinib therapy.

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Hematology Research Unit Helsinki, Department of Medicine, Division of Hematology, University of Helsinki and Helsinki University Central Hospital (HUCH), Helsinki, Finland.


Tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs) have potent effects on malignant cells, and they also target kinases in normal cells, which may have therapeutic implications. Using a collection of 55 leukemia patients treated with TKI therapy (chronic myeloid leukemia, n=47; acute lymphoblastic leukemia, n=8), we found that dasatinib, a second-generation broad-spectrum TKI, induced a rapid, dose-dependent and substantial mobilization of non-leukemic lymphocytes and monocytes in blood peaking 1-2 h after an oral intake and the blood counts closely mirrored drug plasma concentration. A preferential mobilization was observed for natural killer (NK), NK T, B and γδ+ T cells. Mobilization was coupled with a more effective transmigration of leukocytes through an endothelial cell layer and improved cytotoxicity of NK cells. Platelet numbers decreased markedly after the drug intake in a proportion of patients. Similar effects on blood cell dynamics and function were not observed with any other TKI (imatinib, nilotinib and bosutinib). Thus, dasatinib induces a unique, rapid mobilization and activation of cytotoxic, extravasation-competent lymphocytes, which may not only enhance antileukemia immune responses but can also be causally related to the side-effect profile of the drug (pleural effusions, thrombocytopenia).

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