Publications (2)14.86 Total impact
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ABSTRACT: Introduction: Cyclin-dependent kinases (CDKs) regulate cell cycle progression. Certain CDKs (e.g., CDK7, CDK9) also control cellular transcription. Consequently, CDKs represent attractive targets for anticancer drug development, as their aberrant expression is common in diverse malignancies, and CDK inhibition can trigger apoptosis. CDK inhibition may be particularly successful in hematologic malignancies, which are more sensitive to inhibition of cell cycling and apoptosis induction. Areas covered: A number of CDK inhibitors, ranging from pan-CDK inhibitors such as flavopiridol (alvocidib) to highly selective inhibitors of specific CDKs (e.g., CDK4/6), such as PD0332991, that are currently in various phases of development, are profiled in this review. Flavopiridol induces cell cycle arrest, and globally represses transcription via CDK9 inhibition. The latter may represent its major mechanism of action via down-regulation of multiple short-lived proteins. In early phase trials, flavopiridol has shown encouraging efficacy across a wide spectrum of hematologic malignancies. Early results with dinaciclib and PD0332991 also appear promising. Expert opinion: In general, the antitumor efficacy of CDK inhibitor monotherapy is modest, and rational combinations are being explored, including those involving other targeted agents. While selective CDK4/6 inhibition might be effective against certain malignancies, broad-spectrum CDK inhibition will likely be required for most cancers.
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ABSTRACT: BH3 mimetic drugs induce cell death by antagonizing the activity of antiapoptotic Bcl-2 family proteins. Cyclin-dependent kinase (CDK) inhibitors that function as transcriptional repressors downregulate the Bcl-2 family member Mcl-1 and increase the activity of selective BH3 mimetics that fail to target this protein. In this study, we determined whether CDK inhibitors potentiate the activity of pan-BH3 mimetics directly neutralizing Mcl-1. Specifically, we evaluated interactions between the prototypical pan-CDK inhibitor flavopiridol and the pan-BH3 mimetic obatoclax in multiple myeloma (MM) cells in which Mcl-1 is critical for survival. Coadministration of flavopiridol and obatoclax synergistically triggered apoptosis in both drug-naïve and drug-resistant MM cells. Mechanistic investigations revealed that flavopiridol inhibited Mcl-1 transcription but increased transcription of Bim and its binding to Bcl-2/Bcl-xL. Obatoclax prevented Mcl-1 recovery and caused release of Bim from Bcl-2/Bcl-xL and Mcl-1, accompanied by activation of Bax/Bak. Whether administered singly or in combination with obatoclax, flavopiridol also induced upregulation of multiple BH3-only proteins, including BimEL, BimL, Noxa, and Bik/NBK. Notably, short hairpin RNA knockdown of Bim or Noxa abrogated lethality triggered by the flavopiridol/obatoclax combination in vitro and in vivo. Together, our findings show that CDK inhibition potentiates pan-BH3 mimetic activity through a cooperative mechanism involving upregulation of BH3-only proteins with coordinate downregulation of their antiapoptotic counterparts. These findings have immediate implications for the clinical trial design of BH3 mimetic-based therapies that are presently being studied intensively for the treatment of diverse hematopoietic malignancies, including lethal multiple myeloma.
Virginia Commonwealth University
Ричмонд, Virginia, United States
- Division of Hematology/Oncology