Long-term imatinib therapy promotes bone formation in CML patients

Stephen Fitter, Andrea L. Dewar, Panagiota Kostakis, L. Bik To, Timothy P. Hughes, Marion M. Roberts, Kevin Lynch, Barrie Vernon-Roberts, Andrew C.W. Zannettino

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141 Citations (Scopus)


Imatinib inhibits tyrosine kinases important in osteoclast (c-Fms) and osteoblast (platelet-derived growth factor receptor [PDGF-R], c-Abl) function, suggesting that long-term therapy may alter bone homeostasis. To investigate this question, we measured the trabecular bone volume (TBV) in iliac crest bone biopsies taken from chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) patients at diagnosis and again after 2 to 4 years of imatinib therapy. Half the patients (8 of 17) showed a substantive increase in TBV (> 2-fold), after imatinib therapy, with the TBV in the posttreatment biopsy typically surpassing the normal upper limit for the patient's age group. Imatinib-treated patients exhibited reduced serum calcium and phosphate levels with hypophosphatemia evident in 53% (9 of 17) of patients. In vitro, imatinib suppressed osteoblast proliferation and stimulated osteogenic gene expression and mineralized-matrix production by inhibiting PDGF receptor function. In PDGF- stimulated cultures, imatinib dose- dependently inhibited activation of Akt and Crk-L. Using pharmacologic inhibitors, inhibition of PI3-kinase/Akt activation promoted mineral formation, suggesting a possible molecular mechanism for the imatinib-mediated increase in TBV in vivo. Further investigation is required to determine whether the increase in TBV associated with imatinib therapy may represent a novel therapeutic avenue for the treatment of diseases that are characterized by generalized bone loss.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2538-2547
Number of pages10
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished or Issued - 1 Mar 2008
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Immunology
  • Hematology
  • Cell Biology

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