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CD36 defines CML cells less sensitive to imatinib

Tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs) are highly effective for treatment of chronic myeloid leukemia (CML), but very few patients are cured. Major drawbacks with TKIs are their low efficacy in eradicating the leukemic stem cells responsible for disease maintenance and relapse upon TKI cessation. Here, we performed RNA-sequencing of flow-sorted primitive (CD34+CD38low) and progenitor (CD34+CD38+) chronic phase CML cells and identified transcriptional upregulation of 32 cell surface molecules relative to corresponding normal bone marrow cells. Focusing on novel markers with increased expression on primitive CML cells, we confirmed upregulation of the scavenger receptor CD36 and the leptin receptor (LEPR) by flow cytometry. We also delineate a subpopulation of primitive CML cells expressing CD36 that is less sensitive to imatinib treatment. Using CD36 targeting antibodies, we show that the CD36 positive cells can be targeted and killed by antibody dependent cellular cytotoxicity (ADCC). In summary, CD36 defines a subpopulation of primitive CML cells with decreased imatinib sensitivity that can be effectively targeted by ADCC using an anti-CD36 antibody.

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Dataset ID Description Technology Samples
EGAD00001004079 NextSeq 500 28
Publications Citations
CD36 defines primitive chronic myeloid leukemia cells less responsive to imatinib but vulnerable to antibody-based therapeutic targeting.
Haematologica 103: 2018 447-455