GSBS Dissertations and Theses

Publication Date


Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation

Academic Program

Cancer Biology



First Thesis Advisor

Shaoguang Li M.D., Ph.D.


Leukemia, Myelogenous, Chronic, BCR-ABL Positive, Neoplastic Stem Cells, 5-Lipoxygenase-Activating Proteins


Chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) is a disease characterized by the expansion of granulocytic cells. The BCR-ABL tyrosine kinase inhibitor imatinib, the frontline treatment for Ph+ leukemias, can induce complete hematologic and cytogenetic response in most chronic phase CML patients. Despite the remarkable initial clinic effects, it is now recognized that imatinib will unlikely cure patients because a small cell population containing leukemic stem cells (LSCs) with self-renewal capacity is insensitive to tyrosine kinase inhibitors.

In Chapter I, I briefly review the BCR-ABL kinase and its related signaling pathways. BCR-ABL kinase activates several signaling pathways including MAPK, STAT, and JNK/SAPK. BCR-ABL also mediates kinase-independent pathways through SRC family kinases. I will also discuss pathways involving β-catenin, hedgehog, FoxO and Alox5 are critical to the regulation of self-renewal and differentiation in LSC of CML.

As detailed in Chapter II, I describe our work evaluating the effects of omacetaxine, a novel CML drug inducing cell apoptosis by inhibition of protein synthesis, on self-renewal and differentiation of LSCs and BCR-ABL-induced CML and acute lymphoblastic leukemia (B-ALL) in mice. We found that treatment with omacetaxine decreased the number of LSCs and prolonged the survival of mice with CML or B-ALL.

In chapter III, I describe that Alox5 is an essential gene in the function of LSCs and CML development. We show evidence that Alox5 affects differentiation, cell division, and survival of long-term LSCs. Treatment of CML mice with a 5-LO inhibitor also impaired the function of LSCs similarly and prolonged survival.

In chapter IV, I present evidence of our work showing a further dissection the Alox5 pathway by comparing the gene expression profiles of wild type and Alox5-/- LSCs. We show that Msr1 deletion causes acceleration of CML development. We also show that Msr1 affects CML development by regulating the PI3K-AKT pathway and β-catenin.

Taken together, these results demonstrate that some pathways including Alox5 and Msr1 play an important role in regulating the self-renewal and differentiation of LSC. More efforts should be put into developing the novel strategies that may effectively target LSCs and thus cure CML.



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