Research Perspectives:

AMPK in BCR-ABL expressing leukemias. Regulatory effects and therapeutic implications.

Leonidas Platanias _ and Eliza Vakana

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Oncotarget. 2011; 2:1322-1328. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.413

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Eliza Vakana and Leonidas C. Platanias

1Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center and Division of Hematology/Oncology, Northwestern University Medical School and Jesse Brown VA Medical Center, Chicago, IL 60611

Received: December 28, 2011; Accepted: December 31, 2011; Published: December 31, 2011;

Keywords: leukemia, cancer, target, oncotarget, AMPK, mTOR, metformin


Leonidas C. Platanias, email:


The abnormal BCR-ABL oncoprotein is a constitutively active tyrosine kinase driving aberrant proliferation of transformed hematopoietic cells.  BCR-ABL regulates activation of many mitogenic and pro-survival pathways, including the PI 3’K/AKT/mTOR pathway that controls various effectors and regulates initiation of mRNA translation in mammalian cells.  Although tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs) that target the ABL kinase domain have remarkable clinical activity and have dramatically changed the natural history of Ph+ leukemias, resistance to these agents also develops via a wide range of mechanisms.  Efforts to target the PI3’K/AKT/mTOR signaling pathway using kinase inhibitors have been the focus of extensive ongoing investigations by several research groups.  Here we review the effects of activation of the AMPK kinase, which regulates downstream targeting and inhibition of mTOR.   The potential for future clinical-translational applications of AMPK activators such as AICAR, metformin and resveratrol for the treatment of chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML) and Ph+ acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) are discussed.

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