Imatinib mesylate (IM) induces clinical remissions in chronic-phase chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) patients but IM resistance remains a problem. We recently identified several features of CML CD34(+) stem/progenitor cells expected to confer resistance to BCR-ABL-targeted therapeutics. From a study of 25 initially chronic-phase patients, we now demonstrate that some, but not all, of these parameters correlate with subsequent clinical response to IM therapy. CD34(+) cells from the 14 IM nonresponders demonstrated greater resistance to IM than the 11 IM responders in colony-forming cell assays in vitro (P < .001) and direct sequencing of cloned transcripts from CD34(+) cells further revealed a higher incidence of BCR-ABL kinase domain mutations in the IM nonresponders (10%-40% vs 0%-20% in IM responders, P < .003). In contrast, CD34(+) cells from IM nonresponders and IM responders were not distinguished by differences in BCR-ABL or transporter gene expression. Interestingly, one BCR-ABL mutation (V304D), predicted to destabilize the interaction between p210(BCR-ABL) and IM, was detectable in 14 of 20 patients. T315I mutant CD34(+) cells found before IM treatment in 2 of 20 patients examined were preferentially amplified after IM treatment. Thus, 2 properties of pretreatment CML stem/progenitor cells correlate with subsequent response to IM therapy. Prospective assessment of these properties may allow improved patient management.