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How does Bosulif work in chronic myeloid leukemia?

Medically reviewed by N. France, BPharm. Last updated on Feb 10, 2021.

Official Answer


Bosulif (bosutinib monohydrate) is a small molecule chemotherapy drug used to treat adults with a type of cancer called chronic myeloid leukemia (CML). It is a tyrosine kinase inhibitor.

What is chronic myeloid leukemia?

CML, which is also known as chronic myelogenous leukemia, is a type of hematological malignancy or blood cancer. It starts in the bone marrow in blood-forming cells. CML affects cells of the myeloid cell line, which consists of monocytes, red blood cells, platelets and granulocytes. Granulocytes are the most affected by CML and these are infection-fighting white blood cells. Like other cancer types, CML involves these cells growing out of control.

CML typically arises when DNA is swapped during cell division between chromosomes 9 and 22 in a process known as translocation. This leads to a chromosome 22 that is shorter than it should be, which is called a Philadelphia chromosome. When the DNA is swapped from one chromosome to another an abnormal gene that promotes cell growth and division, called BCR-ABL, is also formed. The BCR-ABL gene makes a protein called a tyrosine kinase, which Bosulif targets.

How does Bosulif work in CML - what’s its mechanism of action?

Bosulif is a targeted chemotherapy drug that works by stopping or slowing the growth of CML cells. It works by inhibiting BCR-ABL kinase, which is usually produced by CML cells. In addition to this, it also inhibits Src, Lyn and Hck, which are part of the Src family of kinases.


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