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1.  Activation of TAK1 by MYD88 L265P drives malignant B-cell Growth in non-Hodgkin lymphoma 
Blood Cancer Journal  2014;4(2):e183-.
Massively parallel sequencing analyses have revealed a common mutation within the MYD88 gene (MYD88L265P) occurring at high frequencies in many non-Hodgkin lymphomas (NHLs) including the rare lymphoplasmacytic lymphoma, Waldenström's macroglobulinemia (WM). Using whole-exome sequencing, Sanger sequencing and allele-specific PCR, we validate the initial studies and detect the MYD88L265P mutation in the tumor genome of 97% of WM patients analyzed (n=39). Due to the high frequency of MYD88 mutation in WM and other NHL, and its known effects on malignant B-cell survival, therapeutic targeting of MYD88 signaling pathways may be clinically useful. However, we are lacking a thorough characterization of the role of intermediary signaling proteins on the biology of MYD88L265P-expressing B cells. We report here that MYD88L265P signaling is constitutively active in both WM and diffuse large B-cell lymphoma cells leading to heightened MYD88L265P, IRAK and TRAF6 oligomerization and NF-κB activation. Furthermore, we have identified the signaling protein, TAK1, to be an essential mediator of MYD88L265P-driven signaling, cellular proliferation and cytokine secretion in malignant B cells. Our studies highlight the biological significance of MYD88L265P in NHL and reveal TAK1 inhibition to be a potential therapeutic strategy for the treatment of WM and other diseases characterized by MYD88L265P.
PMCID: PMC3944662  PMID: 24531446
MYD88; Waldenstrom; lymphoma; TAK1
2.  Synergistic cytotoxicity of gemcitabine, clofarabine and edelfosine in lymphoma cell lines 
Blood Cancer Journal  2014;4(1):e171-.
Treatments for lymphomas include gemcitabine (Gem) and clofarabine (Clo) which inhibit DNA synthesis. To improve their cytotoxicity, we studied their synergism with the alkyl phospholipid edelfosine (Ed). Exposure of the J45.01 and SUP-T1 (T-cell) and the OCI-LY10 (B-cell) lymphoma cell lines to IC10–IC20 levels of the drugs resulted in strong synergistic cytotoxicity for the 3-drug combination based on various assays of cell proliferation and apoptosis. Cell death correlated with increased phosphorylation of histone 2AX and KAP1, decreased mitochondrial transmembrane potential, increased production of reactive oxygen species and release of pro-apoptotic factors. Caspase 8-negative I9.2 cells were considerably more resistant to [Gem+Clo+Ed] than caspase 8-positive cells. In all three cell lines [Gem+Clo+Ed] decreased the level of phosphorylation of the pro-survival protein AKT and activated the stress-activated protein kinase/c-Jun N-terminal kinase (SAPK/JNK) stress signaling pathway, which in J45.01 cells resulted in the phosphorylation and heterodimerization of the transcription factors ATF2 and c-Jun. The observed rational mechanism-based efficacy of [Gem+Clo+Ed] based on the synergistic convergence of several pro-death and anti-apoptotic signaling pathways in three very different cell backgrounds provides a powerful foundation for undertaking clinical trials of this drug combination for the treatment of lymphomas.
PMCID: PMC3913938  PMID: 24413065
edelfosine; gemcitabine; clofarabine; synergism; apoptosis; lymphoma
3.  Enhancement of myeloma development mediated though myeloma cell-Th2 cell interactions after microbial antigen presentation by myeloma cells and DCs 
Tian, F | li, J | Li, Y | Luo, S
Blood Cancer Journal  2012;2(6):e74-.
Microbial agents are regarded as a potential cause of tumors, but their direct effects on tumors, such as myeloma, are not well studied. Our studies demonstrated that expression of HLA-DR and CD40 on the myeloma cell membrane surface is upregulated by interferon-γ and/or microbial antigens (Ags). Unlike prior studies, our study showed that Th2 cells cannot promote myeloma growth directly. However, Bacillus Calmette–Guerin Vaccine (BCGV)-specific Th2 cells stimulated by BCGV-loaded dendritic cells (DCs) promoted myeloma clonogenicity directly when the myeloma cells expressed major histocompatibility complex Class-II molecules (MHC-II) and took up BCGV Ag. B-cell lymphoma 6 (Bcl-6) protein expression and the proportion of HLA-DR+ or CD40+ cells were higher in colonies of Th2 cell-stimulated myeloma cells. Furthermore, anti-HLA-DR or neutralizing CD40 antibody could prevent this increase in Bcl-6 expression and colony number. These results indicate that microbes and microbial Ag-specific Th2 cells may directly impact the biology of myeloma and contribute to tumor progression. Activation may be limited to MHC-II+ myeloma cells that retain B cell and stem cell characteristics. Taken together, our data suggest that factors involved in microbial Ag presentation, such as DCs, Th2 cells and so on, are potential targets for myeloma therapeutic intervention.
PMCID: PMC3389161  PMID: 22829976
myeloma; microbial antigen; dendritic cell; Th2 cell; antigen presentation; clonogenicity
4.  Drug-mediated inhibition of Fli-1 for the treatment of leukemia 
Blood Cancer Journal  2012;2(1):e54-.
The Ets transcription factor, Fli-1 is activated in murine erythroleukemia and overexpressed in various human malignancies including Ewing's sarcoma, induced by the oncogenic fusion protein EWS/Fli-1. Recent studies by our group and others have demonstrated that Fli-1 plays a key role in tumorigenesis, and disrupting its oncogenic function may serve as a potential treatment option for malignancies associated with its overexpression. Herein, we describe the discovery of 30 anti-Fli-1 compounds, characterized into six functional groups. Treatment of murine and human leukemic cell lines with select compounds inhibits Fli-1 protein or mRNA expression, resulting in proliferation arrest and apoptosis. This anti-cancer effect was mediated, at least in part through direct inhibition of Fli-1 function, as anti-Fli-1 drug treatment inhibited Fli-1 DNA binding to target genes, such as SHIP-1 and gata-1, governing hematopoietic differentiation and proliferation. Furthermore, treatment with select Fli-1 inhibitors revealed a positive relationship between the loss of DNA-binding activity and Fli-1 phosphorylation. Accordingly, anti-Fli-1 drug treatment significantly inhibited leukemogenesis in a murine erythroleukemia model overexpressing Fli-1. This study demonstrates the ability of this drug-screening strategy to isolate effective anti-Fli-1 inhibitors and highlights their potential use for the treatment of malignancies overexpressing this oncogene.
PMCID: PMC3270256  PMID: 22829238
erythroleukemia; Fli-1; drug inhibition

Results 1-4 (4)