Rapamycin stimulates apoptosis of childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia cells
ABSTRACT The phosphatidyl-inositol 3 kinase (PI3k)/Akt pathway has been implicated in childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL). Because rapamycin suppresses the oncogenic processes sustained by PI3k/Akt, we investigated whether rapamycin affects blast survival. We found that rapamycin induces apoptosis of blasts in 56% of the bone marrow samples analyzed. Using the PI3k inhibitor wortmannin, we show that the PI3k/Akt pathway is involved in blast survival. Moreover, rapamycin increased doxorubicin-induced apoptosis even in nonresponder samples. Anthracyclines activate nuclear factor kappaB (NF-kappaB), and disruption of this signaling pathway increases the efficacy of apoptogenic stimuli. Rapamycin inhibited doxorubicin-induced NF-kappaB in ALL samples. Using a short interfering (si) RNA approach, we demonstrate that FKBP51, a large immunophilin inhibited by rapamycin, is essential for drug-induced NF-kappaB activation in human leukemia. Furthermore, rapamycin did not increase doxorubicin-induced apoptosis when NF-kappaB was overexpressed. In conclusion, rapamycin targets 2 pathways that are crucial for cell survival and chemoresistance of malignant lymphoblasts--PI3k/Akt through the mammalian target of rapamycin and NF-kappaB through FKBP51--suggesting that the drug could be beneficial in the treatment of childhood ALL.
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ABSTRACT: T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (T-ALL) is an aggressive neoplastic disorder in which chemotherapy resistance and refractory relapses occur, with a poorer prognostic outcome.Constitutively active PI3K/Akt/mTOR pathway is a common feature of T-ALL upregulating cell proliferation, survival and drug resistance. This pathway is currently under clinical trials with small molecules inhibitors (SMI).To verify whether a multi-inhibition treatment against Akt protein could enhance the efficacy of individual drug administration and overcome drug resistance as well as to obtain a decrease in single drug concentration, we tested on T-ALL cell lines the effects of combined treatments with three Akt inhibitors with different mode of action, GSK690693, MK-2206 and Perifosine.In cells with hyperactivated Akt, combined administration of the drugs displayed a significant synergistic and cytotoxic effect and affected PI3K/Akt/mTOR pathway at much lower concentration than single drug use. Highest synergistic effect for full inhibition of Akt was also related to the timing of every drug administration. Furthermore the triple treatment had greater efficacy in inducing cell cycle arrest in G0/G1 phase and both apoptosis and autophagy.Targeting Akt as a key protein of PI3K/Akt/mTOR pathway with multiple drugs might represent a new and promising pharmacological strategy for treatment of T-ALL patients.Oncotarget 03/2015; · 6.63 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Despite increasingly successful treatment of pediatric ALL, up to 20% of patients encounter relapse. By current biomarkers, the majority of relapse patients is initially not identified indicating the need for prognostic and therapeutic targets reflecting leukemia biology. We previously described that rapid engraftment of patient ALL cells transplanted onto NOD/SCID mice (short time to leukemia, TTLshort) is indicative of early patient relapse. Gene expression profiling identified genes coding for molecules involved in mTOR signaling to be associated with TTLshort/early relapse leukemia. Here, we now functionally address mTOR signaling activity in primograft ALL samples and evaluate mTOR pathway inhibition as novel treatment strategy for high-risk ALL ex vivo and in vivo. By analysis of S6-phosphorylation downstream of mTOR, increased mTOR activation was found in TTLshort/high-risk ALL, which was effectively abrogated by mTOR inhibitors resulting in decreased leukemia proliferation and growth. In a preclinical setting treating individual patient-derived ALL in vivo, mTOR inhibition alone, and even more pronounced together with conventional remission induction therapy, significantly delayed post-treatment leukemia reoccurrence in TTLshort/high-risk ALL. Thus, the TTLshort phenotype is functionally characterized by hyperactivated mTOR signaling and can effectively be targeted ex vivo and in vivo providing a novel therapeutic strategy for high-risk ALL.Oncotarget 01/2015; 6(3):1382-95. · 6.63 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: B cell precursor acute lymphoblastic leukemia (BCP-ALL) is the most common type of cancer in children. Dramatic improvements in primary therapy for childhood ALL have led to an overall cure rate of 80 %, providing opportunities for innovative combined-modality strategies that would increase cure rates while reducing the toxic side effects of current intensive regimens. In this study, we report that indole-3-carbinol (I3C), a natural phytochemical found in cruciferous vegetables, had anti-leukemic properties in BCP-ALL NALM-6 cells. I3C induced cell growth inhibition by G1 cell cycle arrest and triggered apoptosis in a dose- and time-dependent manner. p53, p21, and Bax proteins showed increased expression after I3C treatment. Real-time PCR analysis of pro-apoptotic p53 target genes revealed up-regulation of PUMA, NOXA, and Apaf-1. I3C also suppressed constitutive nuclear factor-κB (NF-κB) activation and inhibited the protein expression of NF-kappa B-regulated antiapoptotic (IAP1, Bcl-xL, Bcl-2, XIAP) and proliferative (c-Myc) gene products. Coadministration of I3C with the topoisomerase II inhibitor, doxorubicin, potentiates cytotoxic effects compared with either agent alone. Apoptosis induction by the drug combination was associated with enhanced caspase-9 activation and PARP cleavage. Furthermore, I3C abolished doxorubicin-induced NF-κB activity as evidenced by decreased nuclear accumulation of p65, inhibition of IκBα phosphorylation and its degradation, and decreased NF-κB DNA-binding activity. Western blot analysis revealed that doxorubicin-induced Bcl-2 protein expression was inhibited by I3C. Overall, our results indicated that using nontoxic agents, such as I3C, in combination with anthracyclines might provide a new insight into the development of novel combination therapies in childhood BCP-ALL.Tumor Biology 01/2015; DOI:10.1007/s13277-014-3035-1 · 2.84 Impact Factor