CXCR2, a novel target to overcome tyrosine kinase inhibitor resistance in chronic myelogenous leukemia cells

Ji Hea Kim, Seung Jin Lee, Ka Won Kang, Byung Hyun Lee, Yong Park, Byung Soo Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


Chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) is a reciprocal translocation disorder driven by a breakpoint cluster region (BCR)-Abelson leukemia virus (ABL) fusion gene that stimulates abnormal tyrosine kinase activity. Tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs) are effective in treating Philadelphia chromosome (Ph) + CML patients. However, the appearance of TKI-resistant CML cells is a hurdle in CML treatment. Therefore, it is necessary to identify novel alternative treatments targeting tyrosine kinases. This study was designed to determine whether C-X-C chemokine receptor 2 (CXCR2) could be a novel target for TKI-resistant CML treatment. Interleukin 8 (IL-8), a CXCR2 ligand, was significantly increased in the bone marrow serum of initially diagnosed CML patients and TKI-resistant CML cell conditioned media. CXCR2 antagonists suppressed the proliferation of CML cells via cell cycle arrest in the G2/M phase. CXCR2 inhibition also attenuated mTOR, c-Myc, and BCR-ABL expression, leading to CML cell apoptosis, irrespective of TKI responsiveness. Moreover, SB225002, a CXCR2 antagonist, caused higher cell death in TKI-resistant CML cells than TKIs. Using a mouse xenograft model, we confirmed that SB225002 suppresses tumor growth, with a prominent effect on TKI-resistant CML cells. Our findings demonstrate that IL-8 is a prognostic factor for the progression of CML. Inhibiting the CXCR2-mTOR-c-Myc cascade is a promising therapeutic strategy to overcome TKI-sensitive and TKI-insensitive CML. Thus, CXCR2 blockade is a novel therapeutic strategy to treat CML, and SB225002, a commercially available CXCR2 antagonist, might be a candidate drug that could be used to treat TKI-resistant CML.

Original languageEnglish
Article number114658
JournalBiochemical Pharmacology
Publication statusPublished - 2021 Aug

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was supported by the Bio & Medical Technology Development Program of the National Research Foundation, funded by the Ministry of Science & ICT (2017M3A9C8060403).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Elsevier Inc.


  • CXCR2
  • Drug resistance
  • IL-8
  • Tyrosine kinase inhibitors
  • c-Myc
  • mTOR

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Pharmacology


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