The novel BCR-ABL and FLT3 inhibitor ponatinib is a potent inhibitor of the MDR-associated ATP-binding cassette transporter ABCG2

Rupashree Sen, Karthika Natarajan, Jasjeet Bhullar, Suneet Shukla, Hong Bin Fang, Ling Cai, Zhe Sheng Chen, Suresh V. Ambudkar, Maria R. Baer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

55 Scopus citations


Ponatinib is a novel tyrosine kinase inhibitor with potent activity against BCR-ABL with mutations, including T315I, and also against fms-like tyrosine kinase 3. We tested interactions between ponatinib at pharmacologically relevant concentrations of 50 to 200 nmol/L and the MDR-associated ATP-binding cassette (ABC) proteins ABCB1, ABCC1, and ABCG2. Ponatinib enhanced uptake of substrates of ABCG2 and ABCB1, but not ABCC1, in cells overexpressing these proteins, with a greater effect on ABCG2 than on ABCB1. Ponatinib potently inhibited [125I]-IAAP binding to ABCG2 and ABCB1, indicating binding to their drug substrate sites, with IC50 values of 0.04 and 0.63 μmol/L, respectively. Ponatinib stimulated ABCG2 ATPase activity in a concentration-dependent manner and stimulated ABCB1 ATPase activity at low concentrations, consistent with it being a substrate of both proteins at pharmacologically relevant concentrations. The ponatinib IC50 values of BCR-ABL-expressing K562 cells transfected with ABCB1 and ABCG2 were approximately the same as and 2-fold higher than that of K562, respectively, consistent with ponatinib being a substrate of both proteins, but inhibiting its own transport, and resistance was also attenuated to a small degree by ponatinib-induced downregulation of ABCB1 and ABCG2 cell-surface expression on resistant K562 cells. Ponatinib at pharmacologically relevant concentrations produced synergistic cytotoxicity with ABCB1 and ABCG2 substrate chemotherapy drugs and enhanced apoptosis induced by these drugs, including daunorubicin, mitoxantrone, topotecan, and flavopiridol, in cells overexpressing these transport proteins. Combinations of ponatinib and chemotherapy drugs warrant further testing.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2033-2044
Number of pages12
JournalMolecular cancer therapeutics
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2012
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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