In chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) cells from different stages of maturation may have differential expression of BCR-ABL at both messenger RNA (mRNA) and protein level. However, the significance of such differential expression to clinical disease behavior is unknown. Using the CML-derived, BCR-ABL expressing cell line, K562, distinct plastic-adherent (K562/Adh) and nonadherent (K562/NonAdh) subpopulations were established and then analyzed both as single cells and as bulk cell populations. BCR-ABL mRNA was upregulated in K562/Adh compared with K562/NonAdh cells in both single cell and bulk population analyses (p < 0.0001). Similarly, phosphorylation of BCR protein was upregulated in K562/Adh, compared with K562/NonAdh cells (63.42% vs. 23.1%; p = 0.007), and these two K562 subpopulations were found to express significantly different microRNA species. Furthermore, treatment with the BCR-ABL tyrosine kinase inhibitor, imatinib, reduced cell viability more rapidly in K562/NonAdh compared with K562/Adh cells (p < 0.005) both at single and bulk cell levels. This discovery of an adherent subpopulation of K562 cells with increased BCR-ABL mRNA, increased phosphorylated BCR protein expression, differential microRNA expression, and increased imatinib resistance suggests that a similar subpopulation of cells can also mediate clinical resistance to imatinib during treatment of patients with CML.