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2.  Imatinib causes epigenetic alterations of PTEN gene via upregulation of DNA methyltransferases and polycomb group proteins 
Blood Cancer Journal  2011;1(12):e48-.
We have recently reported the possible imatinib-resistant mechanism; long-term exposure of leukemia cells to imatinib downregulated levels of phosphatase and tensin homolog deleted on chromosome 10 (PTEN) via hypermethylation of its promoter region (Leukemia 2010; 24: 1631). The present study explored the molecular mechanisms by which imatinib caused methylation on the promoter region of this tumor suppressor gene in leukemia cells. Real-time reverse transcription PCR found that long-term exposure of chronic eosinophilic leukemia EOL-1 cells expressing FIP1L1/platelet-derived growth factor receptor-α to imatinib induced expression of DNA methyltransferase 3A (DNMT3A) and histone-methyltransferase enhancer of zeste homolog 2 (EZH2), a family of polycomb group, thereby increasing methylation of the gene. Immunoprecipitation assay found the increased complex formation of DNMT3A and EZH2 proteins in these cells. Moreover, chromatin immunoprecipitation assay showed that amounts of both DNMT3A and EZH2 proteins bound around the promoter region of PTEN gene were increased in EOL-1 cells after exposure to imatinib. Furthermore, we found that levels of DNMT3A and EZH2 were strikingly increased in leukemia cells isolated from individuals with chronic myelogenous leukemia (n=1) and Philadelphia chromosome-positive acute lymphoblastic leukemia (n=2), who relapsed after treatment with imatinib compared with those isolated at their initial presentation. Taken together, imatinib could cause drug-resistance via recruitment of polycomb gene complex to the promoter region of the PTEN and downregulation of this gene's transcripts in leukemia patients.
PMCID: PMC3255508  PMID: 22829096
imatinib; DNMTs; EZH2; PTEN
3.  A novel potent Fas agonist for selective depletion of tumor cells in hematopoietic transplants 
Blood Cancer Journal  2011;1(12):e47-.
There remains a clear need for effective tumor cell purging in autologous stem cell transplantation (ASCT) where residual malignant cells within the autograft contribute to disease relapse. Here we propose the use of a novel Fas agonist with potent pro-apoptotic activity, termed MegaFasL, as an effective ex-vivo purging agent. MegaFasL selectively kills hematological cancer cells from lymphomas and leukemias and prevents tumor development at concentrations that do not reduce the functional capacity of human hematopoietic stem/progenitor cells both in in vitro and in in vivo transplantation models. These findings highlight the potential use of MegaFasL as an ex-vivo purging agent in ASCT.
PMCID: PMC3255509  PMID: 22829095
Fas; bone marrow purging; hematopoietic stem cell transplantation; lymphoma; leukemia
4.  The JAK inhibitor AZD1480 regulates proliferation and immunity in Hodgkin lymphoma 
Blood Cancer Journal  2011;1(12):e46-.
Aberrant activation of the Janus kinase (JAK)/signal transducer and activator of transcription (STAT) pathway has been reported to promote proliferation and survival of Hodgkin and Reed–Sternberg cells of Hodgkin lymphoma (HL). We investigated the activity of the JAK inhibitor AZD1480 in HL-derived cell lines and determined its mechanisms of action. AZD1480 at low doses (0.1–1 μ) potently inhibited STATs phosphorylation, but did not predictably result in antiproliferative effects, as it activated a negative-feedback loop causing phosphorylation of JAK2 and extracellular signal-regulated kinases 1 and 2 (ERK1/2), and increased IP-10, RANTES and interleukin (IL)-8 concentrations in the supernatants. Inhibition of the ERK activity by mitogen-activated extracellular signal regulated kinase (MEK) inhibitors (UO126 and PD98059) enhanced the cytotoxic activity of AZD1480. Interestingly, submicromolar concentrations of AZD1480 demonstrated significant immunoregulatory effects by downregulating T-helper 2 cytokines and chemokines, including IL-13 and thymus- and activation-regulated chemokine, and the surface expression of the immunosuppressive programmed death ligands 1 and 2. Higher concentrations of AZD1480 (5 μ) induced G2/M arrest and cell death by inhibiting Aurora kinases. Our study demonstrates that AZD1480 regulates proliferation and immunity in HL cell lines and provides mechanistic rationale for evaluating AZD1480 alone or in combination with MEK inhibitors in HL.
PMCID: PMC3255510  PMID: 22829094
Hodgkin lymphoma; JAK2; ERK; Aurora kinases; AZD1480
5.  Analysis of genomic aberrations and gene expression profiling identifies novel lesions and pathways in myeloproliferative neoplasms 
Blood Cancer Journal  2011;1(11):e40-.
Polycythemia vera (PV), essential thrombocythemia and primary myelofibrosis, are myeloproliferative neoplasms (MPNs) with distinct clinical features and are associated with the JAK2V617F mutation. To identify genomic anomalies involved in the pathogenesis of these disorders, we profiled 87 MPN patients using Affymetrix 250K single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) arrays. Aberrations affecting chr9 were the most frequently observed and included 9pLOH (n=16), trisomy 9 (n=6) and amplifications of 9p13.3–23.3 (n=1), 9q33.1–34.13 (n=1) and 9q34.13 (n=6). Patients with trisomy 9 were associated with elevated JAK2V617F mutant allele burden, suggesting that gain of chr9 represents an alternative mechanism for increasing JAK2V617F dosage. Gene expression profiling of patients with and without chr9 abnormalities (+9, 9pLOH), identified genes potentially involved in disease pathogenesis including JAK2, STAT5B and MAPK14. We also observed recurrent gains of 1p36.31–36.33 (n=6), 17q21.2–q21.31 (n=5) and 17q25.1–25.3 (n=5) and deletions affecting 18p11.31–11.32 (n=8). Combined SNP and gene expression analysis identified aberrations affecting components of a non-canonical PRC2 complex (EZH1, SUZ12 and JARID2) and genes comprising a ‘HSC signature' (MLLT3, SMARCA2 and PBX1). We show that NFIB, which is amplified in 7/87 MPN patients and upregulated in PV CD34+ cells, protects cells from apoptosis induced by cytokine withdrawal.
PMCID: PMC3256752  PMID: 22829077
myeloproliferative neoplasms; JAK2V617F; NFIB; SNP
6.  Pacritinib (SB1518), a JAK2/FLT3 inhibitor for the treatment of acute myeloid leukemia 
Blood Cancer Journal  2011;1(11):e44-.
FMS-like tyrosine kinase 3 (FLT3) is the most commonly mutated gene found in acute myeloid leukemia (AML) patients and its activating mutations have been proven to be a negative prognostic marker for clinical outcome. Pacritinib (SB1518) is a tyrosine kinase inhibitor (TKI) with equipotent activity against FLT3 (IC50=22 n) and Janus kinase 2 (JAK2, IC50=23 n). Pacritinib inhibits FLT3 phosphorylation and downstream STAT, MAPK and PI3 K signaling in FLT3-internal-tandem duplication (ITD), FLT3-wt cells and primary AML blast cells. Oral administration of pacritinib in murine models of FLT3-ITD-driven AML led to significant inhibition of primary tumor growth and lung metastasis. Upregulation of JAK2 in FLT3-TKI-resistant AML cells was identified as a potential mechanism of resistance to selective FLT3 inhibition. This resistance could be overcome by the combined FLT3 and JAK2 activities of pacritinib in this cellular model. Our findings provide a rationale for the clinical evaluation of pacritinib in AML including patients resistant to FLT3-TKI therapy.
PMCID: PMC3256753  PMID: 22829080
Pacritinib; SB1518; FLT3; JAK2; AML
7.  AV-65, a novel Wnt/β-catenin signal inhibitor, successfully suppresses progression of multiple myeloma in a mouse model 
Blood Cancer Journal  2011;1(11):e43-.
Multiple myeloma (MM) is a malignant neoplasm of plasma cells. Although new molecular targeting agents against MM have been developed based on the better understanding of the underlying pathogenesis, MM still remains an incurable disease. We previously demonstrated that β-catenin, a downstream effector in the Wnt pathway, is a potential target in MM using RNA interference in an in vivo experimental mouse model. In this study, we have screened a library of more than 100 000 small-molecule chemical compounds for novel Wnt/β-catenin signaling inhibitors using a high-throughput transcriptional screening technology. We identified AV-65, which diminished β-catenin protein levels and T-cell factor transcriptional activity. AV-65 then decreased c-myc, cyclin D1 and survivin expression, resulting in the inhibition of MM cell proliferation through the apoptotic pathway. AV-65 treatment prolonged the survival of MM-bearing mice. These findings indicate that this compound represents a novel and attractive therapeutic agent against MM. This study also illustrates the potential of high-throughput transcriptional screening to identify candidates for anticancer drug discovery.
PMCID: PMC3256754  PMID: 22829079
multiple myeloma; Wnt; β-catenin; high-throughput screening
8.  FHL2 interacts with CALM and is highly expressed in acute erythroid leukemia 
Blood Cancer Journal  2011;1(11):e42-.
The t(10;11)(p13;q14) translocation results in the fusion of the CALM (clathrin assembly lymphoid myeloid leukemia protein) and AF10 genes. This translocation is observed in acute myeloblastic leukemia (AML M6), acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) and malignant lymphoma. Using a yeast two-hybrid screen, the four and a half LIM domain protein 2 (FHL2) was identified as a CALM interacting protein. Recently, high expression of FHL2 in breast, gastric, colon, lung as well as in prostate cancer was shown to be associated with an adverse prognosis. The interaction between CALM and FHL2 was confirmed by glutathione S-transferase-pulldown assay and co-immunoprecipitation experiments. The FHL2 interaction domain of CALM was mapped to amino acids 294–335 of CALM. The transcriptional activation capacity of FHL2 was reduced by CALM, but not by CALM/AF10, which suggests that regulation of FHL2 by CALM might be disturbed in CALM/AF10-positive leukemia. Extremely high expression of FHL2 was seen in acute erythroid leukemia (AML M6). FHL2 was also highly expressed in chronic myeloid leukemia and in AML with complex aberrant karyotype. These results suggest that FHL2 may play an important role in leukemogenesis, especially in the case of AML M6.
PMCID: PMC3256755  PMID: 22829078
9.  Resistance of MLL–AFF1-positive acute lymphoblastic leukemia to tumor necrosis factor-alpha is mediated by S100A6 upregulation 
Blood Cancer Journal  2011;1(11):e38-.
Mixed-lineage leukemia (MLL)–AFF1 (MLL–AF4)-positive acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) is associated with poor prognosis, even after allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (allo-HSCT). The resistance to graft-versus-leukemia (GVL) effects may be responsible for the poor effect of allo-HSCT on MLL–AFF1-positive ALL. Cytotoxic effector mechanisms mediated by tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-α) was reported to contribute to the GVL effect. We showed that MLL–AFF1-positive ALL cell lines are resistant to TNF-α. To examine the mechanism of resistance to TNF-α of MLL–AFF1-positive leukemia, we focused on S100A6 as a possible factor. Upregulation of S100A6 expression and inhibition of the p53–caspase 8–caspase 3 pathway were observed only in MLL–AFF1-positive ALL cell lines in the presence of TNF-α. The effect of S100A6 on resistance to TNF-α by inhibition of the p53–caspase 8–caspase 3 pathway of MLL–AFF1-positive ALL cell lines were also confirmed by analysis using small interfering RNA against S100A6. This pathway was also confirmed in previously established MLL–AFF1 transgenic mice. These results suggest that MLL–AFF1-positive ALL escapes from TNF-α-mediated apoptosis by upregulation of S100A6 expression, followed by interfering with p53–caspase 8–caspase 3 pathway. These results suggest that S100A6 may be a promising therapeutic target for MLL–AFF1-positive ALL in combination with allo-HSCT.
PMCID: PMC3256756  PMID: 22829076
mixed lineage leukemia; S100A6; TNF-α; GVL effect; MLL–AFF1
12.  Redeployment-based drug screening identifies the anti-helminthic niclosamide as anti-myeloma therapy that also reduces free light chain production 
Blood Cancer Journal  2011;1(10):e39-.
Despite recent therapeutic advancements, multiple myeloma (MM) remains incurable and new therapies are needed, especially for the treatment of elderly and relapsed/refractory patients. We have screened a panel of 100 off-patent licensed oral drugs for anti-myeloma activity and identified niclosamide, an anti-helminthic. Niclosamide, at clinically achievable non-toxic concentrations, killed MM cell lines and primary MM cells as efficiently as or better than standard chemotherapy and existing anti-myeloma drugs individually or in combinations, with little impact on normal donor cells. Cell death was associated with markers of both apoptosis and autophagy. Importantly, niclosamide rapidly reduced free light chain (FLC) production by MM cell lines and primary MM. FLCs are a major cause of renal impairment in MM patients and light chain amyloid and FLC reduction is associated with reversal of tissue damage. Our data indicate that niclosamides anti-MM activity was mediated through the mitochondria with rapid loss of mitochondrial membrane potential, uncoupling of oxidative phosphorylation and production of mitochondrial superoxide. Niclosamide also modulated the nuclear factor-κB and STAT3 pathways in MM cells. In conclusion, our data indicate that MM cells can be selectively targeted using niclosamide while also reducing FLC secretion. Importantly, niclosamide is widely used at these concentrations with minimal toxicity.
PMCID: PMC3255256  PMID: 22829072
myeloma; niclosamide; mitochondria; paraprotein; therapy
13.  How I treat splenomegaly in myelofibrosis 
Blood Cancer Journal  2011;1(10):e37-.
Symptomatic splenomegaly, a frequent manifestation of myelofibrosis (MF), represents a therapeutic challenge. It is frequently accompanied by constitutional symptoms and by anemia or other cytopenias, which make treatment difficult, as the latter are often worsened by most current therapies. Cytoreductive treatment, usually hydroxyurea, is the first-line therapy, being effective in around 40% of the patients, although the effect is often short lived. The immunomodulatory drugs, such as thalidomide or lenalidomide, rarely show a substantial activity in reducing the splenomegaly. Splenectomy can be considered in patients refractory to drug treatment, but the procedure involves substantial morbidity as well as a certain mortality risk and, therefore, patient selection is important. For patients not eligible for splenectomy, transient relief of the symptoms can be obtained with local radiotherapy that, in turn, can induce severe and long-lasting cytopenias. Allogeneic hemopoietic stem cell transplantation is the only treatment with the potential for curing MF but, due to its associated morbidity and mortality, is usually restricted to a minority of patients with poor risk features. A new class of drugs, the JAK2 inhibitors, although also palliative, are promising in the splenomegaly of MF and will probably change the therapeutic algorithm of this disease.
PMCID: PMC3255257  PMID: 22829071
myelofibrosis; therapy; splenomegaly; splenectomy; JAK2 inhibitors
14.  Comorbidity as a prognostic variable in multiple myeloma: comparative evaluation of common comorbidity scores and use of a novel MM–comorbidity score 
Blood Cancer Journal  2011;1(9):e35-.
Comorbidities have been demonstrated to affect progression-free survival (PFS) and overall survival (OS), although their impact in multiple myeloma (MM) patients is as yet unsettled. We (1) assessed various comorbidities, (2) compared established comorbidity indices (CIs; Charlson comorbidity index (CCI), hematopoietic cell transplantation-specific comorbidity index (HCT-CI)), Kaplan Feinstein (KF) and Satariano index (SI) and (3) developed a MM-CI (Freiburger comorbidity index, FCI) in 127 MM patients. Univariate analysis determined moderate or severe pulmonary disease (hazard ratio (HR): 3.5, P<0.0001), renal impairment (via estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR); HR: 3.4, P=0.0018), decreased Karnofsky Performance Status (KPS, HR: 2.7, P=0.0004) and age (HR: 2, P=0.0114) as most important variables for diminished OS. Through multivariate analysis, the eGFR ⩽30 ml/min/1.73m2, impaired lung function and KPS ⩽70% were significant for decreased OS, with HRs of 2.9, 2.8 and 2.2, respectively. Combination of these risk factors within the FCI identified significantly different median OS rates of 118, 53 and 25 months with 0, 1 and 2 or 3 risk factors, respectively, (P<0.005). In light of our study, comorbidities are critical prognostic determinants for diminished PFS and OS. Moreover, comorbidity scores are important treatment decision tools and will be valuable to implement into future analyses and clinical trials in MM.
PMCID: PMC3255252  PMID: 22829196
multiple myeloma; comorbidities; comorbidity scores; prognosis
15.  Further phenotypic characterization of the primitive lineage− CD34+CD38−CD90+CD45RA− hematopoietic stem cell/progenitor cell sub-population isolated from cord blood, mobilized peripheral blood and patients with chronic myelogenous leukemia 
Blood Cancer Journal  2011;1(9):e36-.
The most primitive hematopoietic stem cell (HSC)/progenitor cell (PC) population reported to date is characterized as being Lin−CD34+CD38−CD90+CD45R. We have a long-standing interest in comparing the characteristics of hematopoietic progenitor cell populations enriched from normal subjects and patients with chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML). In order to investigate further purification of HSCs and for potential targetable differences between the very primitive normal and CML stem/PCs, we have phenotypically compared the normal and CML Lin−CD34+CD38−CD90+CD45RA− HSC/PC populations. The additional antigens analyzed were HLA-DR, the receptor tyrosine kinases c-kit and Tie2, the interleukin-3 cytokine receptor, CD33 and the activation antigen CD69, the latter of which was recently reported to be selectively elevated in cell lines expressing the Bcr-Abl tyrosine kinase. Notably, we found a strikingly low percentage of cells from the HSC/PC sub-population isolated from CML patients that were found to express the c-kit receptor (<1%) compared with the percentages of HSC/PCs expressing the c-kitR isolated from umbilical cord blood (50%) and mobilized peripheral blood (10%). Surprisingly, Tie2 receptor expression within the HSC/PC subset was extremely low from both normal and CML samples. Using in vivo transplantation studies, we provide evidence that HLA-DR, c-kitR, Tie2 and IL-3R may not be suitable markers for further partitioning of HSCs from the Lin−CD34+CD38−CD90+CD45RA− sub-population.
PMCID: PMC3255253  PMID: 22829197
stem cells; phenotype; normal; myeloid; leukemic
16.  Selective targeting of the mTORC1/2 protein kinase complexes leads to antileukemic effects in vitro and in vivo 
Blood Cancer Journal  2011;1(9):e34-.
The BCR/ABL tyrosine kinase promotes leukemogenesis through activation of several targets that include the phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PI3K). Tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs), which target BCR/ABL, induce striking clinical responses. However, therapy with TKIs is associated with limitations such as drug intolerance, inability to universally eradicate the disease and emergence of BCR/ABL drug-resistant mutants. To overcome these limitations, we tested whether inhibition of the PI3K/target of rapamycin (mTOR) signaling pathway has antileukemic effect in primary hematopoietic stem cells and BA/F3 cells expressing the BCR/ABL oncoprotein. We determined that dual inhibition of PI3K/mTOR causes growth arrest and apoptosis leading to profound antileukemic effects both in vitro and in vivo. We also established that pharmacologic inhibition of the mTORC1/mTORC2 complexes is sufficient to cause these antileukemic effects. Our results support the development of inhibitors of the mTORC1/2 complexes for the therapy of leukemias that either express BCR/ABL or display deregulation of the PI3K/mTOR signaling pathway.
PMCID: PMC3255254  PMID: 22829195
CML; PI3K inhibitors; mTORC1/2; targeted leukemia therapy
18.  Gene expression signatures associated with the in vitro resistance to two tyrosine kinase inhibitors, nilotinib and imatinib 
Blood Cancer Journal  2011;1(8):e32-.
The use of selective inhibitors targeting Bcr-Abl kinase is now established as a standard protocol in the treatment of chronic myelogenous leukemia; however, the acquisition of drug resistance is a major obstacle limiting the treatment efficacy. To elucidate the molecular mechanism of drug resistance, we established K562 cell line models resistant to nilotinib and imatinib. Microarray-based transcriptome profiling of resistant cells revealed that nilotinib- and imatinib-resistant cells showed the upregulation of kinase-encoding genes (AURKC, FYN, SYK, BTK and YES1). Among them, the upregulation of AURKC and FYN was observed both in nilotinib- and imatinib-resistant cells irrespective of exposure doses, while SYK, BTK and YES1 showed dose-dependent upregulation of expression. Upregulation of EGF and JAG1 oncogenes as well as genes encoding ATP-dependent drug efflux pump proteins such as ABCB1 was also observed in the resistant cells, which may confer alternative survival benefits. Functional gene set analysis revealed that molecular categories of ‘ATPase activity', ‘cell adhesion' or ‘tyrosine kinase activity' were commonly activated in the resistant clones. Taken together, the transcriptome analysis of tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKI)-resistant clones provides the insights into the mechanism of drug resistance, which can facilitate the development of an effective screening method as well as therapeutic intervention to deal with TKI resistance.
PMCID: PMC3255246  PMID: 22829191
tyrosine kinase inhibitor; chronic myelogenous leukemia; drug resistance; microarray; pathway analysis
19.  Efficacy of NS-018, a potent and selective JAK2/Src inhibitor, in primary cells and mouse models of myeloproliferative neoplasms 
Blood Cancer Journal  2011;1(7):e29-.
Aberrant activation of Janus kinase 2 (JAK2) caused by somatic mutation of JAK2 (JAK2V617F) or the thrombopoietin receptor (MPLW515L) plays an essential role in the pathogenesis of myeloproliferative neoplasms (MPNs), suggesting that inhibition of aberrant JAK2 activation would have a therapeutic benefit. Our novel JAK2 inhibitor, NS-018, was highly active against JAK2 with a 50% inhibition (IC50) of <1 n, and had 30–50-fold greater selectivity for JAK2 over other JAK-family kinases, such as JAK1, JAK3 and tyrosine kinase 2. In addition to JAK2, NS-018 inhibited Src-family kinases. NS-018 showed potent antiproliferative activity against cell lines expressing a constitutively activated JAK2 (the JAK2V617F or MPLW515L mutations or the TEL–JAK2 fusion gene; IC50=11–120 n), but showed only minimal cytotoxicity against most other hematopoietic cell lines without a constitutively activated JAK2. Furthermore, NS-018 preferentially suppressed in vitro erythropoietin-independent endogenous colony formation from polycythemia vera patients. NS-018 also markedly reduced splenomegaly and prolonged the survival of mice inoculated with Ba/F3 cells harboring JAK2V617F. In addition, NS-018 significantly reduced leukocytosis, hepatosplenomegaly and extramedullary hematopoiesis, improved nutritional status, and prolonged survival in JAK2V617F transgenic mice. These results suggest that NS-018 will be a promising candidate for the treatment of MPNs.
PMCID: PMC3255248  PMID: 22829185
myeloproliferative neoplasm; JAK2; Src; kinase inhibitor
20.  Antileukemic activity of the HSP70 inhibitor pifithrin-μ in acute leukemia 
Blood Cancer Journal  2011;1(7):e28-.
Heat shock protein (HSP) 70 is aberrantly expressed in different malignancies and has emerged as a promising new target for anticancer therapy. Here, we analyzed the in vitro antileukemic effects of pifithrin-μ (PFT-μ), an inhibitor of inducible HSP70, in acute myeloid leukemia (AML) and acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) cell lines, as well as in primary AML blasts. PFT-μ significantly inhibited cell viability at low micromolar concentrations in all cell lines tested, with IC50 values ranging from 2.5 to 12.7 μ, and was highly active in primary AML blasts with a median IC50 of 8.9 μ (range 5.7–37.2). Importantly, higher IC50 values were seen in normal hematopoietic cells. In AML and ALL, PFT-μ induced apoptosis and cell cycle arrest in a dose-dependent fashion. PFT-μ also led to an increase of the active form of caspase-3 and reduced the intracellular concentrations of AKT and ERK1/2 in NALM-6 cells. Moreover, PFT-μ enhanced cytotoxicity of cytarabine, 17-(allylamino)-17-desmethoxygeldanamycin, suberoylanilide hydroxamic acid, and sorafenib in NALM-6, TOM-1 and KG-1a cells. This is the first study demonstrating significant antileukemic effects of the HSP70 inhibitor PFT-μ, alone and in combination with different antineoplastic drugs in both AML and ALL. Our results suggest a potential therapeutic role for PFT-μ in acute leukemias.
PMCID: PMC3255249  PMID: 22829184
acute lymphoblastic leukemia; acute myeloid leukemia; HSP70 inhibitor; pifithrin-μ
22.  Glucocorticoid-induced cell death is mediated through reduced glucose metabolism in lymphoid leukemia cells 
Blood Cancer Journal  2011;1(7):e31-.
Malignant cells are known to have increased glucose uptake and accelerated glucose metabolism. Using liquid chromatography and mass spectrometry, we found that treatment of acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) cells with the glucocorticoid (GC) dexamethasone (Dex) resulted in profound inhibition of glycolysis. We thus demonstrate that Dex reduced glucose consumption, glucose utilization and glucose uptake by leukemic cells. Furthermore, Dex treatment decreased the levels of the plasma membrane-associated glucose transporter GLUT1, thus revealing the mechanism for the inhibition of glucose uptake. Inhibition of glucose uptake correlated with induction of cell death in ALL cell lines and in leukemic blasts from ALL patients cultured ex vivo. Addition of di-methyl succinate could partially overcome cell death induced by Dex in RS4;11 cells, thereby further supporting the notion that inhibition of glycolysis contributes to the induction of apoptosis. Finally, Dex killed RS4;11 cells significantly more efficiently when cultured in lower glucose concentrations suggesting that modulation of glucose levels might influence the effectiveness of GC treatment in ALL. In summary, our data show that GC treatment blocks glucose uptake by leukemic cells leading to inhibition of glycolysis and that these effects play an important role in the induction of cell death by these drugs.
PMCID: PMC3255251  PMID: 22829187
glucocorticoids; leukemia; glycolysis; cell death
24.  Myeloma cells suppress osteoblasts through sclerostin secretion 
Blood Cancer Journal  2011;1(6):e27-.
Wingless-type (Wnt) signaling through the secretion of Wnt inhibitors Dickkopf1, soluble frizzled-related protein-2 and -3 has a key role in the decreased osteoblast (OB) activity associated with multiple myeloma (MM) bone disease. We provide evidence that another Wnt antagonist, sclerostin, an osteocyte-expressed negative regulator of bone formation, is expressed by myeloma cells, that is, human myeloma cell lines (HMCLs) and plasma cells (CD138+ cells) obtained from the bone marrow (BM) of a large number of MM patients with bone disease. We demonstrated that BM stromal cells (BMSCs), differentiated into OBs and co-cultured with HMCLs showed, compared with BMSCs alone, reduced expression of major osteoblastic-specific proteins, decreased mineralized nodule formation and attenuated the expression of members of the activator protein 1 transcription factor family (Fra-1, Fra-2 and Jun-D). Moreover, in the same co-culture system, the addition of neutralizing anti-sclerostin antibodies restored OB functions by inducing nuclear accumulation of β-catenin. We further demonstrated that the upregulation of receptor activator of nuclear factor κ-B ligand and the downregulation of osteoprotegerin in OBs were also sclerostin mediated. Our data indicated that sclerostin secretion by myeloma cells contribute to the suppression of bone formation in the osteolytic bone disease associated to MM.
PMCID: PMC3255263  PMID: 22829171
multiple myeloma; osteolysis; sclerostin; osteoblasts; myeloma cells
25.  MicroRNA-146a and AMD3100, two ways to control CXCR4 expression in acute myeloid leukemias 
Blood Cancer Journal  2011;1(6):e26-.
CXCR4 is a negative prognostic marker in acute myeloid leukemias (AMLs). Therefore, it is necessary to develop novel ways to inhibit CXCR4 expression in leukemia. AMD3100 is an inhibitor of CXCR4 currently used to mobilize cancer cells. CXCR4 is a target of microRNA (miR)-146a that may represent a new tool to inhibit CXCR4 expression. We then investigated CXCR4 regulation by miR-146a in primary AMLs and found an inverse correlation between miR-146a and CXCR4 protein expression levels in all AML subtypes. As the lowest miR-146a expression levels were observed in M5 AML, we analyzed the control of CXCR4 expression by miR-146a in normal and leukemic monocytic cells and showed that the regulatory miR-146a/CXCR4 pathway operates during monocytopoiesis, but is deregulated in AMLs. AMD3100 treatment and miR-146a overexpression were used to inhibit CXCR4 in leukemic cells. AMD3100 treatment induces the decrease of CXCR4 protein expression, associated with miR-146a increase, and increases sensitivity of leukemic blast cells to cytotoxic drugs, this effect being further enhanced by miR-146a overexpression. Altogether our data indicate that miR-146a and AMD3100, acting through different mechanism, downmodulate CXCR4 protein levels, impair leukemic cell proliferation and then may be used in combination with anti-leukemia drugs, for development of new therapeutic strategies.
PMCID: PMC3255264  PMID: 22829170
CXCR4; miR-146a; AMD3100; acute myeloid leukemia

Results 1-25 (48)