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1.  Targeting of CD34+CD38- cells using Gemtuzumab ozogamicin (Mylotarg) in combination with tipifarnib (Zarnestra) in acute Myeloid Leukaemia 
BMC Cancer  2012;12:431.
Background
The CD34+CD38- subset of AML cells is enriched for resistance to current chemotherapeutic agents and considered to contribute to disease progression and relapse in Acute Myeloid Leukaemia (AML) patients following initial treatment.
Methods
Chemosensitivity in phenotypically defined subsets from 34 primary AML samples was measured by flow cytometry following 48 hr in vitro treatment with gemtuzumab ozogamicin (GO, Mylotarg) and the farnesyltransferase inhibitor tipifarnib/zarnestra. The DNA damage response was measured using flow cytometry, immunofluorescence and immunohistochemistry.
Results
Using a previously validated in vitro minimal residual disease model, we now show that the combination of GO (10 ng/ml) and tipifarnib (5 μM) targets the CD34+CD38- subset resulting in 65% median cell loss compared to 28% and 13% CD34+CD38- cell loss in GO-treated and tipifarnib-treated cells, respectively. Using phosphokinome profiling and immunofluorescence in the TF-1a cell line, we demonstrate that the drug combination is characterised by the activation of a DNA damage response (induction of γH2A.X and thr68 phosphorylation of chk2). Higher induction of γH2AX was found in CD34+CD38- than in CD34+CD38+ patient cells. In a model system, we show that dormancy impairs damage resolution, allowing accumulation of γH2AX foci.
Conclusions
The chemosensitivity of the CD34+CD38- subset, combined with enhanced damage indicators, suggest that this subset is primed to favour programmed cell death as opposed to repairing damage. This interaction between tipifarnib and GO suggests a potential role in the treatment of AML.
doi:10.1186/1471-2407-12-431
PMCID: PMC3488582  PMID: 23013471
Tipifarnib/Zarnestra; Gemtuzumab ozogamicin/ Mylotarg; AML CD34+CD38- cells; DNA damage response
2.  P-glycoprotein and breast cancer resistance protein in acute myeloid leukaemia cells treated with the Aurora-B Kinase Inhibitor barasertib-hQPA 
BMC Cancer  2011;11:254.
Background
Aurora kinases play an essential role in orchestrating chromosome alignment, segregation and cytokinesis during mitotic progression, with both aurora-A and B frequently over-expressed in a variety of human malignancies. Over-expression of the ABC drug transporter proteins P-glycoprotein (Pgp) and Breast cancer resistance protein (BCRP) is a major obstacle for chemotherapy in many tumour types with Pgp conferring particularly poor prognosis in acute myeloid leukaemia (AML). Barasertib-hQPA is a highly selective inhibitor of aurora-B kinase that has shown tumouricidal activity against a range tumour cell lines including those of leukaemic AML origin.
Methods
Effect of barasertib-hQPA on the pHH3 biomarker and cell viability was measured in a panel of leukaemic cell lines and 37 primary AML samples by flow cytometry. Pgp status was determined by flow cytometry and BCRP status by flow cytometry and real-time PCR.
Results
In this study we report the creation of the cell line OCI-AML3DNR, which over-expresses Pgp but not BCRP or multidrug resistance-associated protein (MRP), through prolonged treatment of OCI-AML3 cells with daunorubicin. We demonstrate that Pgp (OCI-AML3DNR and KG-1a) and BCRP (OCI-AML6.2) expressing AML cell lines are less sensitive to barasertib-hQPA induced pHH3 inhibition and subsequent loss of viability compared to transporter negative cell lines. We also show that barasertib-hQPA resistance in these cell lines can be reversed using known Pgp and BCRP inhibitors. We report that barasertib-hQPA is not an inhibitor of Pgp or BCRP, but by using 14[C]-barasertib-hQPA that it is effluxed by these transporters. Using phosphoHistone H3 (pHH3) as a biomarker of barasertib-hQPA responsiveness in primary AML blasts we determined that Pgp and BCRP positive primary samples were less sensitive to barasertib-hQPA induced pHH3 inhibition (p = <0.001) than samples without these transporters. However, we demonstrate that IC50 inhibition of pHH3 by barasertib-hQPA was achieved in 94.6% of these samples after 1 hour drug treatment, in contrast to the resistance of the cell lines.
Conclusion
We conclude that Pgp and BCRP status and pHH3 down-regulation in patients treated with barasertib should be monitored in order to establish whether transporter-mediated efflux is sufficient to adversely impact on the efficacy of the agent.
doi:10.1186/1471-2407-11-254
PMCID: PMC3146447  PMID: 21679421

Results 1-2 (2)