Interconnecting molecular pathways in the pathogenesis and drug sensitivity of T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia.
ABSTRACT To identify dysregulated pathways in distinct phases of NOTCH1-mediated T-cell leukemogenesis, as well as small-molecule inhibitors that could synergize with or substitute for gamma-secretase inhibitors (GSIs) in T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (T-ALL) therapy, we compared gene expression profiles in a Notch1-induced mouse model of T-ALL with those in human T-ALL. The overall patterns of NOTCH1-mediated gene expression in human and mouse T-ALLs were remarkably similar, as defined early in transformation in the mouse by the regulation of MYC and its target genes and activation of nuclear factor-kappaB and PI3K/AKT pathways. Later events in murine Notch1-mediated leukemogenesis included down-regulation of genes encoding tumor suppressors and negative cell cycle regulators. Gene set enrichment analysis and connectivity map algorithm predicted that small-molecule inhibitors, including heat-shock protein 90, histone deacetylase, PI3K/AKT, and proteasome inhibitors, could reverse the gene expression changes induced by NOTCH1. When tested in vitro, histone deacetylase, PI3K and proteasome inhibitors synergized with GSI in suppressing T-ALL cell growth in GSI-sensitive cells. Interestingly, alvespimycin, a potent inhibitor of the heat-shock protein 90 molecular chaperone, markedly inhibited the growth of both GSI-sensitive and -resistant T-ALL cells, suggesting that its loss disrupts signal transduction pathways crucial for the growth and survival of T-ALL cells.
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ABSTRACT: Notch signaling can play oncogenic and tumor suppressor roles depending on cell type. Hematologic malignancies encompass a wide range of transformed cells, and consequently the roles of Notch are diverse in these diseases. For example Notch is a potent T-cell oncogene, with >50% of T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (T-ALL) cases carry activating mutations in the Notch1 receptor. Targeting Notch signaling in T-ALL with gamma-secretase inhibitors, which prevent Notch receptor activation, has shown pre-clinical activity, and is under evaluation clinically. In contrast, Notch signaling inhibits acute myeloblastic leukemia growth and survival, and although targeting Notch signaling in AML with Notch activators appears to have pre-clinical activity, no Notch agonists are clinically available at this time. As such, despite accumulating evidence about the biology of Notch signaling in different hematologic cancers, which provide compelling clinical promise, we are only beginning to target this pathway clinically, either on or off. In this review, we will summarize the evidence for oncogenic and tumor suppressor roles of Notch in a wide range of leukemias and lymphomas, and describe therapeutic opportunities for now and the future.Frontiers in Pediatrics 06/2014; 2:54.
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ABSTRACT: Cancer therapeutics is evolving to precision medicine, with the goal of matching targeted compounds with molecular aberrations underlying a patient's cancer. While murine models offer a pre-clinical tool, associated costs and time are not compatible with actionable patient-directed interventions. Using the paradigm of T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia, a high-risk disease with defined molecular underpinnings, we developed a zebrafish human cancer xenotransplantation model to inform therapeutic decisions. Using a focused chemical genomic approach, we demonstrate that xenografted cell lines harboring mutations in the NOTCH1 and PI3K/AKT pathways respond concordantly to their targeted therapies, patient-derived T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia can be successfully engrafted in zebrafish and specific drug responses can be quantitatively determined. Using this approach, we identified a mutation sensitive to γ-secretase inhibition in a xenograft from a child with T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia, confirmed by Sanger sequencing and validated as a gain-of-function NOTCH1 mutation. The zebrafish xenotransplantation platform provides a novel cost-effective means of tailoring leukemia therapy in real-time.Haematologica 10/2014; · 5.94 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Relapse and acquired drug resistance in T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (T-ALL) remains a significant clinical problem. This study was designed to establish a preclinical model of resistance to induction therapy in childhood T-ALL to examine the emergence of drug resistance and identify novel therapies. Patient-derived T-ALL xenografts in immune-deficient (non-obese diabetic/severe combined immunodeficient) mice were exposed to a four-drug combination of vincristine, dexamethasone (DEX), L-asparaginase and daunorubicin (VXLD). 'Relapse' xenografts were characterized by responses to drugs, changes in gene expression profiles and Connectivity Map (CMap) prediction of strategies to reverse drug resistance. Two of four xenografts developed ex vivo and in vivo drug resistance. Both resistant lines showed altered lipid and cholesterol metabolism, yet they had a distinct drug resistance pattern. CMap analyses reinforced these features, identifying the cholesterol pathway inhibitor simvastatin (SVT) as a potential therapy to overcome resistance. Combined ex vivo with DEX, SVT was significantly synergistic, yet when administered in vivo with VXLD it did not delay leukemia progression. Synergy of SVT with established chemotherapy may depend on higher drug doses than are tolerable in this model. Taken together, we have developed a clinically relevant in vivo model of T-ALL suitable to examine the emergence of drug resistance and to identify novel therapies.Blood Cancer Journal 08/2014; 4:e232. · 2.88 Impact Factor