April 15, 2024

Trailblazing with Dasatinib: A New Era in Targeted Therapies

Dasatinib is an oral anticancer drug belonging to a class of drugs known as tyrosine kinase inhibitors. It works by targeting several types of tyrosine kinase enzymes like BCR-ABL, Src family kinases, c-KIT, and PDGFR, which play a key role in the growth and progression of various cancers. Let us explore more about this promising drug in detail.

History and Mechanism of Action

Dasatinib was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2006 for the treatment of chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) and Philadelphia chromosome-positive acute lymphoblastic leukemia (Ph+ ALL). It was developed by Bristol-Myers Squibb as an alternative treatment option for CML patients who are resistant or intolerant to imatinib (Gleevec), the first FDA-approved tyrosine kinase inhibitor for CML.

Dasatinib works by binding to and inhibiting the kinase activity of the BCR-ABL protein, which is responsible for the uncontrolled growth of white blood cells in CML. It also blocks several other tyrosine kinases like Src family kinases that are involved in cancer cell proliferation and survival. By inhibiting these key protein targets, dasatinib induces apoptosis or programmed cell death in cancer cells while sparing normal cells.

Approved Indications and Efficacy

Apart from CML and Ph+ ALL, dasatinib is also FDA-approved for the treatment of the following cancer types:

– Chronicphase CML: In clinical studies, dasatinib achieved complete cytogenic response rates of over 70% in newly diagnosed chronic phase CML patients who cannot tolerate or no longer respond to imatinib.

– Advanced phase CML: For accelerated and blast phase CML patients who are resistant or intolerant to other therapies, dasatinib resulted in major hematologic response rates of over 50%.

– Ph+ ALL: For this aggressive leukemia, dasatinib confirmed complete hematologic response rates were around 80% in clinical trials.

Overall, dasatinib has shown high rates of durable responses across all phases of CML and Ph+ ALL, representing a very good treatment option for patients who develop resistance to frontline tyrosine kinase inhibitors.

Adverse Effects and Monitoring

While generally well-tolerated, dasatinib treatment can cause some common and manageable side effects like nausea, diarrhea, headache, fatigue, cough, pleural effusion etc. More serious adverse reactions requiring monitoring include myelosuppression (low blood cell counts), fluid retention issues, pulmonary hypertension, liver enzyme elevations etc.

Hematologic toxicities are the most concerning due to dasatinib’s mechanism of action. Complete blood counts including platelet counts need to be checked regularly, especially initially during therapy. Any signs of bleeding or infection should promptly alert the physician to adjust the dasatinib dose or interrupt treatment.

New Development and Research

Ongoing and future research with dasatinib continues to explore newer applications and combinations for better patient outcomes. Some highlights include:

– Combo therapy: Studies are evaluating dasatinib combined with other approved drugs for superior responses in resistant CML and ALL compared to dasatinib alone.

– New indications: Early phase clinical trials are assessing dasatinib’s potential in solid tumors like lung cancer, ovarian cancer that harbor relevant protein targets.

– Pediatric use: Safety and efficacy data collection in children/adolescents is helping expand dasatinib use to younger patient populations.

– Treatment sequencing: Continued follow up of patients is providing insights on optimal sequencing of TKIs like dasatinib, bosutinib, ponatinib in CML management over long term.

– Biomarker research: Investigators are working to identify molecular signatures that can predict individual response or resistance to dasatinib therapy.


In conclusion, dasatinib has emerged as a valuable targeted therapeutic agent for the treatment of CML and Ph+ ALL. Further clinical research continues to optimize its use in effective combination regimens or sequential therapy approaches. With additional new indications and more refined use based on individual patient characteristics, dasatinib holds promise to benefit many more cancer patients in the future.


  1. Source: Coherent Market Insights, Public sources, Desk research
  2. We have leveraged AI tools to mine information and compile it