The establishment and the biological properties of a new leukemic cell line (KBM-5) derived from a patient in the blastic phase of chronic myelogenous leukemia are described. The cells exhibited multiple copies of the Philadelphia chromosome, and a high level of p210Bcr-Abl kinase activity was detected with rabbit anti-Abl and anti-Bcr (exon 3) peptide antisera. Use of specific primers and polymerase chain reaction followed by Southern blotting revealed that KBM-5 cells carried a bcr3-ABLII splice junction. While a normal BCR message was detected, no normal ABL message was found. The cells were phenotypically myeloid with monocytic differentiation. The high cloning efficiency in semisolid media was independent of the presence of exogenous colony-stimulating factors. In vitro exposure to inducers of differentiation, such as retinoic acid, dimethyl sulfoxide, or hemin, failed to influence the growth rate of the cells and their level of differentiation. KBM-5 cells are highly resistant to the antiproliferative action of recombinant α- and γ-interferons. Although sensitive to recombinant tumor necrosis factor α, they were completely resistant to natural killer cell action. KBM-5 cells constitutively expressed mRNA for tumor necrosis factor α but not for γ-interferon, other interleukins, or hematopoietic growth factors. The KBM-5 cells that were transplanted into SCID mice manifested metastatic potential and tissue invasiveness similar to the way leukemic cells in humans do. This new KBM-5 cell line represents a helpful model for examining in vitro and in vivo modulation of the growth and properties of leukemic cells by using biological and chemotherapeutic agents.

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This work was supported by West Fund for Drug Resistance in Leukemia (to M. B.).

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