Previous studies in our laboratory demonstrated that the azurophil granule protease neutrophil elastase (NE) cleaves PML-RARA (PR), the fusion protein that initiates acute promyelocytic leukemia (APL). Further, NE deficiency reduces the penetrance of APL in a murine model of this disease. We therefore predicted that NE-mediated PR cleavage might be important for its ability to initiate APL. To test this hypothesis, we generated a mouse expressing NE-resistant PR. These mice developed APL indistinguishable from wild type PR, but with significantly reduced latency (median leukemia-free survival of 274 days versus 473 days for wild type PR, p<0.001). Resistance to proteolysis may increase the abundance of full length PR protein in early myeloid cells, and our previous data suggested that non-cleaved PR may be less toxic to early myeloid cells. Together, these effects appear to increase the leukemogenicity of NE-resistant PR, contrary to our previous prediction. We conclude that NE deficiency may reduce APL penetrance via indirect mechanisms that are still NE dependent.