The skeletal effects of the tyrosine kinase inhibitor nilotinib


Susannah O'Sullivan, Jian-Ming Lin, Maureen Watson, Karen Callon, Pak Cheung Tong, Dorit Naot, Anne Horne, Opetaia Aati, , Fran Porteous, Greg Gamble, Jillian Cornish, Peter Browett, and Andrew Grey


Nilotinib is a tyrosine kinase inhibitor (TKI) developed to manage imatinib-resistance in patients with chronic myeloid leukemia (CML). It inhibits similar molecular targets to imatinib, but is a significantly more potent inhibitor of Bcr-Abl. Nilotinib exhibits off-target effects in other tissues, and of relevance to bone metabolism, hypophosphataemia has been reported in up to 30% of patients receiving nilotinib. We have assessed the effects of nilotinib on bone cells in vitro and on bone metabolism in patients receiving nilotinib for treatment of CML. We firstly investigated the effects of nilotinib on proliferating and differentiating osteoblastic cells, and on osteoclastogenesis in murine bone marrow cultures and RAW264.7 cells. Nilotinib potently inhibited osteoblast proliferation (0.01–1 uM), through inhibition of the platelet-derived growth factor (PDGFR). There was a biphasic effect on osteoblast differentiation such that it was reduced by lower concentrations of nilotinib (0.1–0.5 uM), with no effect at higher concentrations (1 uM). Nilotinib also potently inhibited osteoclastogenesis, predominantly by stromal-cell dependent mechanisms. Thus, nilotinib decreased osteoclast development in murine bone marrow cultures, but did not affect osteoclastogenesis in RAW264.7 cells. Nilotinib treatment of osteoblastic cells increased expression and secretion of OPG and decreased expression of RANKL. In 10 patients receiving nilotinib, levels of bone turnover markers were in the low-normal range, despite secondary hyperparathyroidism, findings that are similar to those in patients treated with imatinib. Bone density tended to be higher than age and gender-matched normal values. These data suggest that nilotinib may have important effects on bone metabolism. Prospective studies should be conducted to determine the long-term effects of nilotinib on bone density and calcium metabolism.

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