Hewamana S, Alghazal S, Lin TT, Clement M, Jenkins C, Guzman ML et al.. The NF-kappaB subunit Rel A is associated with in vitro survival and clinical disease progression in chronic lymphocytic leukemia and represents a promising therapeutic target. Blood 111: 4681-4689

Department of Haematology, School of Medicine, Cardiff University, Cardiff, United Kingdom.
Blood (Impact Factor: 10.45). 06/2008; 111(9):4681-9. DOI: 10.1182/blood-2007-11-125278
Source: PubMed


In this study, we characterized nuclear factor kappaB (NF-kappaB) subunit DNA binding in chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) samples and demonstrated heterogeneity in basal and inducible NF-kappaB. However, all cases showed higher basal NF-kappaB than normal B cells. Subunit analysis revealed DNA binding of p50, Rel A, and c-Rel in primary CLL cells, and Rel A DNA binding was associated with in vitro survival (P = .01) with high white cell count (P = .01) and shorter lymphocyte doubling time (P = .01). NF-kappaB induction after in vitro stimulation with anti-IgM was associated with increased in vitro survival (P < .001) and expression of the signaling molecule ZAP-70 (P = .003). Prompted by these data, we evaluated the novel parthenolide analog, LC-1, in 54 CLL patient samples. LC-1 induced apoptosis in all the samples tested with a mean LD(50) of 2.8 microM after 24 hours; normal B and T cells were significantly more resistant to its apoptotic effects (P < .001). Apoptosis was preceded by a marked loss of NF-kappaB DNA binding and sensitivity to LC-1 correlated with basal Rel A DNA binding (P = .03, r(2) = 0.15). Furthermore, Rel A DNA binding was inversely correlated with sensitivity to fludarabine (P = .001, r(2) = 0.3), implicating Rel A in fludarabine resistance. Taken together, these data indicate that Rel A represents an excellent therapeutic target for this incurable disease.

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Available from: Peter A Crooks, Aug 11, 2014
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    • "ZAP-70 enhances the BCR signalling responses in CLL [45], [46]. NFκB inhibitors induce apoptosis of CLL cells, and ZAP-70 positive patients have higher NFκB activity and increased sensitivity [47], [48]. We show that an NFκB inhibitor counteracted the anti-apoptotic effect of IL-4, especially in ZAP-70 positive patients, and the gene expression response of a great part of IL-4 targets, especially the ZAP-70Pos targets which, therefore, would depend on NFκB for IL-4 responsiveness. "
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    ABSTRACT: Interleukin 4 (IL-4), an essential mediator of B cell development, plays a role in survival of chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) cells. To obtain new insights into the function of the IL-4 pathway in CLL, we analyzed the gene expression response to IL-4 in CLL and in normal B cells (NBC) by oligonucleotide microarrays, resulting in the identification of 232 non-redundant entities in CLL and 146 in NBC (95 common, 283 altogether), of which 189 were well-defined genes in CLL and 123 in NBC (83 common, 229 altogether) (p<0.05, 2-fold cut-off). To the best of our knowledge, most of them were novel IL-4 targets for CLL (98%), B cells of any source (83%), or any cell type (70%). Responses were significantly higher for 54 and 11 genes in CLL and NBC compared to each other, respectively. In CLL, ZAP-70 status had an impact on IL-4 response, since different sets of IL-4 targets correlated positively or negatively with baseline expression of ZAP-70. In addition, the NFκB inhibitor 6-Amino-4-(4-phenoxyphenethylamino)quinazoline, which reversed the anti-apoptotic effect of IL-4, preferentially blocked the response of genes positively correlated with ZAP-70 (e.g. CCR2, SUSD2), but enhanced the response of genes negatively correlated with ZAP-70 (e.g. AUH, BCL6, LY75, NFIL3). Dissection of the gene expression response to IL-4 in CLL and NBC contributes to the understanding of the anti-apoptotic response. Initial evidence of a connection between ZAP-70 and NFκB supports further exploration of targeting NFκB in the context of the assessment of inhibition of the IL-4 pathway as a therapeutic strategy in CLL, especially in patients expressing bad prognostic markers.
    Full-text · Article · Oct 2014 · PLoS ONE
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    • "This finding is in accordance with earlier work where lymphoma B cells from CLL patients were heterogeneous in basal- as well as activation-induced NF-κB [48]. This has potentially clinical implications as a correlation between the NF-κB subunit Rel-A (p65) DNA binding in CLL cells and lymphocyte doubling time was identified, and Rel-A DNA binding was positively correlated with in vitro resistance to fludarabine [48]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Background Knowledge about signaling pathways in malignant cells may provide prognostic and diagnostic information in addition to identify potential molecular targets for therapy. B-cell receptor (BCR) and co-receptor CD40 signaling is essential for normal B cells, and there is increasing evidence that signaling via BCR and CD40 plays an important role in the pathogenesis of B-cell lymphoma. The aim of this study was to investigate basal and induced signaling in lymphoma B cells and infiltrating T cells in single-cell suspensions of biopsies from small cell lymphocytic lymphoma/chronic lymphocytic leukemia (SLL/CLL) and marginal zone lymphoma (MZL) patients. Methods Samples from untreated SLL/CLL and MZL patients were examined for basal and activation induced signaling by phospho-specific flow cytometry. A panel of 9 stimulation conditions targeting B and T cells, including crosslinking of the B cell receptor (BCR), CD40 ligand and interleukins in combination with 12 matching phospho-protein readouts was used to study signaling. Results Malignant B cells from SLL/CLL patients had higher basal levels of phosphorylated (p)-SFKs, p-PLCγ, p-ERK, p-p38, p-p65 (NF-κB), p-STAT5 and p-STAT6, compared to healthy donor B cells. In contrast, anti-BCR induced signaling was highly impaired in SLL/CLL and MZL B cells as determined by low p-SFK, p-SYK and p-PLCγ levels. Impaired anti-BCR-induced p-PLCγ was associated with reduced surface expression of IgM and CD79b. Similarly, CD40L-induced p-ERK and p-p38 were also significantly reduced in lymphoma B cells, whereas p-p65 (NF-κB) was equal to that of normal B cells. In contrast, IL-2, IL-7 and IL-15 induced p-STAT5 in tumor-infiltrating T cells were not different from normal T cells. Conclusions BCR signaling and CD40L-induced p-p38 was suppressed in malignant B cells from SLL/CLL and MZL patients. Single-cell phospho-specific flow cytometry for detection of basal as well as activation-induced phosphorylation of signaling proteins in distinct cell populations can be used to identify aberrant signaling pathways.
    Full-text · Article · Oct 2012 · BMC Cancer
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    • "[14, 15] Of particular interest is the inhibition of IKK and IKKβ as these modulate expression of NF-κB through phosphorylation of IκB leading to IκB degradation and subsequent release and activation of NF-κB.[38, 39] NF-κB has been previously shown to be a prognostic marker and a therapeutic target in CLL [9, 11, 40] and the ability to suppress NF-κB activation in CLL cells may be critical to the success of a treatment. We have recently shown that NF-κB activation is higher in previously treated CLL patients [40], which in turn makes the cells impervious the effects of other therapies [41]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Heat shock protein 90 (Hsp90) is a molecular chaperone required for the stability and function of multiple over-expressed signaling proteins that promote growth and survival in cancer cells. Chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (CLL) is characterized by increased expression of several Hsp90 client proteins making it a potentially susceptible to Hsp90 inhibition. In this study we showed that the novel Hsp90 inhibitor NVP-AUY922-AG was cytotoxic to primary CLL cells in vitro (LD50=0.18μM±0.20). Importantly, its toxicity was preserved under cytoprotective co-culture conditions that rendered fludarabine ineffective. At the molecular level, NVP-AUY922-AG depleted the expression of multiple Hsp90 client proteins including Akt and activators of NF- κB, IKKα and IKKβ. Consistent with this inhibition profile, NVP-AUY922-AG resulted in decreased transcription of the NF-B target genes MCL1, CFLAR, BIRC5. In contrast, fludarabine significantly induced the transcription of MCL1 and BIRC5. Given the anti-apoptotic nature of these genes and the role they play in fludarabine resistance, we considered that the combination of NVP-AUY922-AG with fludarabine might resensitize CLL cells to the effects of fludarabine. In keeping with this hypothesis, the combination of NVP-AUY922-AG and fludarabine was highly synergistic (mean CI=0.110.06) and this synergy was enhanced in co-culture (mean CI=0.06±0.08). Furthermore, the combination maintained the decrease in MCL1, CFLAR and BIRC5 transcription suggesting that the ability of NVP-AUY922-AG to modulate expression of these genes may contribute to the efficacy of this drug under cytoprotective co-culture conditions and for its remarkable synergy with fludarabine. Taken together these findings indicate that Hsp90 inhibition is an attractive therapeutic strategy in CLL.
    Full-text · Article · May 2012 · Oncotarget
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