Inhibitory effects of omacetaxine on leukemic stem cells and BCR-ABL-induced chronic myeloid leukemia and acute lymphoblastic leukemia in mice.

UMMS Affiliation

Department of Medicine, Division of Hematology/Oncology

Publication Date


Document Type



Life Sciences | Medicine and Health Sciences


Omacetaxine mepesuccinate (formerly homoharringtonine) is a molecule with a mechanism of action that is different from tyrosine kinase inhibitors, and its activity in chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) seems to be independent of the BCR-ABL mutation status. Using BCR-ABL-expressing myelogenous and lymphoid cell lines and mouse models of CML and B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (B-ALL) induced by wild-type BCR-ABL or T315I mutant-BCR-ABL, we evaluated the inhibitory effects of omacetaxine on CML and B-ALL. We showed that more than 90% of the leukemic stem cells were killed after treatment with omacetaxine in vitro. In contrast, less than 9 or 25% of the leukemic stem cells were killed after treating with imatinib or dasatinib, respectively. After 4 days of treatment of CML mice with omacetaxine, Gr-1(+)myeloid leukemia cells decreased in the peripheral blood of the treated CML mice. In the omacetaxine-treated B-ALL mice, only 0.8% of the B220(+)leukemia cells were found in peripheral blood, compared with 34% of the B220(+)leukemia cells in the placebo group. Treatment with omacetaxine decreased the number of leukemia stem cells and prolonged the survival of mice with BCR-ABL-induced CML or B-ALL.


omacetaxine, leukemic stem cells, CML, B-ALL, BCR-ABL

DOI of Published Version



Leukemia advance online publication 26 March 2009, DOI 10.1038/leu.2009.52.

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Leukemia : official journal of the Leukemia Society of America, Leukemia Research Fund, U.K

Related Resources

Link to article in PubMed

PubMed ID