[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Aberrant activation of Wnt/beta-catenin signaling promotes the development of several cancers. It has been demonstrated that the Wnt signaling pathway is activated in chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) cells, and that uncontrolled Wnt/beta-catenin signaling may contribute to the defect in apoptosis that characterizes this malignancy. Thus, the Wnt signaling pathway is an attractive candidate for developing targeted therapies for CLL.
The diuretic agent ethacrynic acid (EA) was identified as a Wnt inhibitor using a cell-based Wnt reporter assay. In vitro assays further confirmed the inhibitory effect of EA on Wnt/beta-catenin signaling. Cell viability assays showed that EA selectively induced cell death in primary CLL cells. Exposure of CLL cells to EA decreased the expression of Wnt/beta-catenin target genes, including LEF-1, cyclin D1 and fibronectin. Immune co-precipitation experiments demonstrated that EA could directly bind to LEF-1 protein and destabilize the LEF-1/beta-catenin complex. N-acetyl-L-cysteine (NAC), which can react with the alpha, beta-unsaturated ketone in EA, but not other anti-oxidants, prevented the drug's inhibition of Wnt/beta-catenin activation and its ability to induce apoptosis in CLL cells.
Our studies indicate that EA selectively suppresses CLL survival due to inhibition of Wnt/beta-catenin signaling. Antagonizing Wnt signaling in CLL with EA or related drugs may represent an effective treatment of this disease.
PLoS ONE 12/2009; 4(12):e8294. · 3.53 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A series of amides of ethacrynic acid was prepared and evaluated for their ability to inhibit Wnt signaling and decrease the survival of CLL cells. Several of the most potent derivatives were active in the low micromolar range. Reduction of the alpha,beta-unsaturated carbon-carbon double bond of EA abrogated both the inhibition of Wnt signaling as well as the decrease in CLL survival. Preliminary mechanism of action studies suggest that these derivatives covalently modify sulfhydryl groups present on transcription factors important for Wnt/beta-catenin signaling.