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Turk J Haematol. 2015 Jun;32(2):168-71. doi: 10.4274/tjh.2014.0021.

Possible Role of Interleukin-31/33 Axis in Imatinib Mesylate-Associated Skin Toxicity.

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University of Messina Faculty of Medicine, Department of General Surgery and Oncology, Division of Hematology, Messina, Italy Phone: 0039 090 221 23 64 E-mail:


in English, Turkish

Imatinib mesylate is a small-molecule tyrosine kinase inhibitor (TKi) designed to target c-ABL and BCR-ABL, approved for the treatment of chronic myeloid leukemia and gastrointestinal stromal tumors. Adverse cutaneous reactions induced by imatinib are frequent, generally moderate, and dose-dependent. The aim of this work was to investigate the possible contribution of interleukin (IL)-33 and IL-31, cytokines involved in disorders associated with itching, in the pathogenesis of pruritus in a patient undergoing imatinib mesylate treatment. His IL-31 and IL-33 serum levels were significantly higher than in the control group (respectively 96.6 pg/mL vs. 7.623±7.681 pg/mL and 27.566 pg/mL vs. 6.170±7.060 pg/mL). In light of these findings, imatinib mesylate-related symptoms of dermatologic toxicities might be related to the release of IL-31 and IL-33. In particular, it is supposable that TKi usage could cause keratinocyte injury, the release of IL-33, and the consequent interaction with its receptor on mast cells that induces the secretion of several factors capable of causing skin manifestations, including IL-31, a known pruritus-inducing cytokine. This report, to the best of our knowledge, is the first work describing the possible involvement of the IL-31/IL-33 axis in the pathogenesis of skin side effects related to imatinib mesylate treatment.

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