[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: 2-(2,4-Difluoro-phenyl)-4,5,6,7-tetrafluoro-1H-isoindole-1,3(2H)-dione (CPS49) is a member of a recently identified class of redox-reactive thalidomide analogs that show selective killing of leukemic cells by increasing intracellular reactive oxygen species (ROS) and targeting multiple transcriptional pathways. Flavopiridol is a semisynthetic flavonoid that inhibits cyclin-dependent kinases and also shows selective lethality against leukemic cells. The purpose of this study is to explore the efficacy and mechanism of action of the combinatorial use of the redox-reactive thalidomide CPS49 and the cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitor flavopiridol as a selective antileukemic therapeutic strategy. In combination, CPS49 and flavopiridol were found to induce selective cytotoxicity associated with mitochondrial dysfunction and elevations of ROS in leukemic cells ranging from additive to synergistic activity at low micromolar concentrations. Highest synergy was observed at the level of ROS generation with a strong correlation between cell-specific cytotoxicity and reciprocal coupling of drug-induced ROS elevation with glutathione depletion. Examination of the transcriptional targeting of CPS49 and flavopiridol combinations reveals that the drugs act in concert to initiate a cell specific transcriptional program that manipulates nuclear factor-kappaB (NF-kappaB), E2F-1, and p73 activity to promote enhanced mitochondrial instability by simultaneously elevating the expression of the proapoptotic factors BAX, BAD, p73, and PUMA while depressing expression of the antiapoptotic genes MCL1, XIAP, BCL-xL, SURVIVIN, and MDM2. The coadministration of CPS49 and flavopiridol acts through coordinate targeting of transcriptional pathways that enforce selective mitochondrial dysfunction and ROS elevation and is therefore a promising new therapeutic combination that warrants further preclinical exploration.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Telomerase activation is a critical event in cell immortalization, and an increase in human telomerase reverse transcriptase (hTERT) expression is the key step in activating telomerase. The phosphatase and tensin homolog (PTEN) gene encodes a double-specific phosphatase that induces cell cycle arrest, inhibits cell growth, and causes apoptotic cell death. Here, we evaluated a combined PTEN and antisense hTERT gene therapy for experimental glioma in vitro and in vivo. We demonstrated that infection with antisense-hTERT and wild-type-PTEN adenoviruses significantly inhibited human U251 glioma cell proliferation in vitro and glioma growth in a xenograft mouse model. The efficacy of therapy was obviously higher in the tumor xenografts infected with both PTEN and antisense hTERT than in the gliomas infected with either agent alone at the same total viral dose. Consistent with these results, we showed that telomerase activity and hTERT protein levels were markedly reduced in the glioma cells following adenovirus infection. In contrast, the levels of PTEN protein expression were dramatically increased in these cells. Our data indicate that combination treatment with antisense hTERT and wild-type PTEN effectively suppresses the malignant growth of human glioma cells in vitro and in tumor xenografts, suggesting a promising new approach in glioma gene therapy that warrants further investigation.
Cellular and Molecular Life Sciences CMLS 04/2007; 64(5):621-31. · 5.62 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Using a novel cell-based assay to profile transcriptional pathway targeting, we have identified a new functional class of thalidomide analogs with distinct and selective antileukemic activity. These agents activate nuclear factor of activated T cells (NFAT) transcriptional pathways while simultaneously repressing nuclear factor-kappaB (NF-kappaB) via a rapid intracellular amplification of reactive oxygen species (ROS). The elevated ROS is associated with increased intracellular free calcium, rapid dissipation of the mitochondrial membrane potential, disrupted mitochondrial structure, and caspase-independent cell death. This cytotoxicity is highly selective for transformed lymphoid cells, is reversed by free radical scavengers, synergizes with the antileukemic activity of other redox-directed compounds, and preferentially targets cells in the S phase of the cell cycle. Live-cell imaging reveals a rapid drug-induced burst of ROS originating in the endoplasmic reticulum and associated mitochondria just prior to spreading throughout the cell. As members of a novel functional class of "redoxreactive" thalidomides, these compounds provide a new tool through which selective cellular properties of redox status and intracellular bioactivation can be leveraged by rational combinatorial therapeutic strategies and appropriate drug design to exploit cell-specific vulnerabilities for maximum drug efficacy.