Dependence of acute myeloid leukemia on adhesion within the bone marrow microenvironment.
ABSTRACT: Acute myeloid leukemia (AML) cells home to the endosteal region of the bone marrow. They interact with bone marrow stromal components including extracellular matrix proteins, glycosaminoglycans, and stromal cells, by which they derive proliferative and growth inhibitory signals. Furthermore, adhesion to marrow stroma confers chemotherapy drug resistance and thereby promotes leukemia survival. A subpopulation of the leukemic blasts, known as leukemia stem cells, that are capable of propagating the leukemia, remain sheltered in the bone marrow microenvironment, exhibit resistance to chemotherapy, and serve as the origin of relapse after a variable period of remission. Detachment of these cells from the bone marrow in combination with chemotherapy may improve the outcome of therapy for AML.
Project description:Little is known about how leukemia cells alter the bone marrow (BM) niche to facilitate their own growth and evade chemotherapy. Here, we provide evidence that acute myeloid leukemia (AML) blasts remodel the BM niche into a leukemia growth-permissive and normal hematopoiesis-suppressive microenvironment through exosome secretion. Either engrafted AML cells or AML-derived exosomes increased mesenchymal stromal progenitors and blocked osteolineage development and bone formation in vivo. Preconditioning with AML-derived exosomes 'primed' the animals for accelerated AML growth. Conversely, disruption of exosome secretion in AML cells through targeting Rab27a, an important regulator involved in exosome release, significantly delayed leukemia development. In BM stromal cells, AML-derived exosomes induced the expression of DKK1, a suppressor of normal hematopoiesis and osteogenesis, thereby contributing to osteoblast loss. Conversely, treatment with a DKK1 inhibitor delayed AML progression and prolonged survival in AML-engrafted mice. In addition, AML-derived exosomes induced a broad downregulation of hematopoietic stem cell-supporting factors (for example, CXCL12, KITL and IGF1) in BM stromal cells and reduced their ability to support normal hematopoiesis. Altogether, this study uncovers novel features of AML pathogenesis and unveils how AML cells create a self-strengthening leukemic niche that promotes leukemic cell proliferation and survival, while suppressing normal hematopoiesis through exosome secretion.
Project description:Cancer stem cells have been proposed to be important for initiation, maintenance and recurrence of various malignancies, including acute myeloid leukemia (AML). We have previously reported that CD34+CD38- human primary AML stem cells residing in the endosteal region of the bone marrow are relatively chemotherapy resistant. Using a NOD/SCID/IL2rgamma(null) mouse model of human AML, we now show that the AML stem cells in the endosteal region are cell cycle quiescent and that these stem cells can be induced to enter the cell cycle by treatment with granulocyte colony-stimulating factor (G-CSF). In combination with cell cycle-dependent chemotherapy, G-CSF treatment significantly enhances induction of apoptosis and elimination of human primary AML stem cells in vivo. The combination therapy leads to significantly increased survival of secondary recipients after transplantation of leukemia cells compared with chemotherapy alone.
Project description:To characterize the prevalence of hypoxia in the leukemic bone marrow, its association with metabolic and transcriptional changes in the leukemic blasts and the utility of hypoxia-activated prodrug TH-302 in leukemia models.Hyperpolarized magnetic resonance spectroscopy was utilized to interrogate the pyruvate metabolism of the bone marrow in the murine acute myeloid leukemia (AML) model. Nanostring technology was used to evaluate a gene set defining a hypoxia signature in leukemic blasts and normal donors. The efficacy of the hypoxia-activated prodrug TH-302 was examined in the in vitro and in vivo leukemia models.Metabolic imaging has demonstrated increased glycolysis in the femur of leukemic mice compared with healthy control mice, suggesting metabolic reprogramming of hypoxic bone marrow niches. Primary leukemic blasts in samples from AML patients overexpressed genes defining a "hypoxia index" compared with samples from normal donors. TH-302 depleted hypoxic cells, prolonged survival of xenograft leukemia models, and reduced the leukemia stem cell pool in vivo In the aggressive FLT3/ITD MOLM-13 model, combination of TH-302 with tyrosine kinase inhibitor sorafenib had greater antileukemia effects than either drug alone. Importantly, residual leukemic bone marrow cells in a syngeneic AML model remain hypoxic after chemotherapy. In turn, administration of TH-302 following chemotherapy treatment to mice with residual disease prolonged survival, suggesting that this approach may be suitable for eliminating chemotherapy-resistant leukemia cells.These findings implicate a pathogenic role of hypoxia in leukemia maintenance and chemoresistance and demonstrate the feasibility of targeting hypoxic cells by hypoxia cytotoxins.
Project description:The interaction of acute myeloid leukemia (AML) and acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) blasts with the bone marrow microenvironment regulates self-renewal, growth signaling, as well as chemotherapy resistance. The chemokine receptor, CXC receptor 4 (CXCR4), with its ligand chemokine ligand 12 (CXCL12), plays a key role in the survival and migration of normal and malignant stem cells to the bone marrow. High expression of CXCR4 on AML and ALL blasts has been shown to be a predictor of poor prognosis for these diseases. Several small molecule inhibitors, short peptides, antibodies, and antibody drug conjugates have been developed for the purposes of more effective targeting and killing of malignant cells expressing CXCR4. In this review we will discuss recent results and strategies in targeting CXCR4 with these agents in patients with AML or ALL.
Project description:The interactions between the cancerous cells of acute myeloid leukemia (AML) and the bone marrow (BM) microenvironment have been postulated to be important for resistance to chemotherapy and disease relapse in AML. The chemokine receptor CXC chemokine receptor 4 (CXCR4) and its ligand, CXC motif ligand 12 (CXCL12), also known as stromal cell-derived factor 1?, are key mediators of this interaction. CXCL12 is produced by the BM microenvironment, binds and activates its cognate receptor CXCR4 on leukemic cells, facilitates leukemia cell trafficking and homing in the BM microenvironment, and keeps leukemic cells in close contact with the stromal cells and extracellular matrix that constitutively generate growth-promoting and anti-apoptotic signals. Indeed, a high level of CXCR4 expression on AML blasts is known to be associated with poor prognosis. Recent preclinical and clinical studies have revealed the safety and potential clinical utility of targeting the CXCL12/CXCR4 axis in AML with different classes of drugs, including small molecules, peptides, and monoclonal antibodies. In this review, we describe recent evidence of targeting these leukemia-stroma interactions, focusing on the CXCL12/CXCR4 axis. Related early phase clinical studies will be also introduced.
Project description:SDF-1alpha/CXCR4 signaling plays a key role in leukemia/bone marrow microenvironment interactions. We previously reported that bone marrow-derived stromal cells inhibit chemotherapy-induced apoptosis in acute myeloid leukemia (AML). Here we demonstrate that the CXCR4 inhibitor AMD3465 antagonized stromal-derived factor 1alpha (SDF-1alpha)-induced and stroma-induced chemotaxis and inhibited SDF-1alpha-induced activation of prosurvival signaling pathways in leukemic cells. Further, CXCR4 inhibition partially abrogated the protective effects of stromal cells on chemotherapy-induced apoptosis in AML cells. Fetal liver tyrosine kinase-3 (FLT3) gene mutations activate CXCR4 signaling, and coculture with stromal cells significantly diminished antileukemia effects of FLT3 inhibitors in cells with mutated FLT3. Notably, CXCR4 inhibition increased the sensitivity of FLT3-mutated leukemic cells to the apoptogenic effects of the FLT3 inhibitor sorafenib. In vivo studies demonstrated that AMD3465, alone or in combination with granulocyte colony-stimulating factor, induced mobilization of AML cells and progenitor cells into circulation and enhanced antileukemic effects of chemotherapy and sorafenib, resulting in markedly reduced leukemia burden and prolonged survival of the animals. These findings indicate that SDF-1alpha/CXCR4 interactions contribute to the resistance of leukemic cells to signal transduction inhibitor- and chemotherapy-induced apoptosis in systems mimicking the physiologic microenvironment. Disruption of these interactions with CXCR4 inhibitors represents a novel strategy of sensitizing leukemic cells by targeting their protective bone marrow microenvironment.
Project description:The bone marrow microenvironment plays a critical role in the development, progression, and relapse of acute myeloid leukemia (AML). Similar to normal hematopoietic stem cells, AML blasts express receptors on their surface, allowing them to interact with specific components of the marrow microenvironment. These interactions contribute to both chemotherapy resistance and disease relapse. Preclinical studies and early phase clinical trials have demonstrated the potential for targeting the tumor-microenvironment interactions in AML. Agents currently under investigation include hypoxia-inducible agents and inhibitors of CXCR4 and adhesion molecules such as VLA-4 and E-selectin.
Project description:Acute myeloid leukemia (AML) is an aggressive malignancy where despite improvements in conventional chemotherapy and bone marrow transplantation, overall survival remains poor. Sphingosine kinase 1 (SPHK1) generates the bioactive lipid sphingosine 1-phosphate (S1P) and has established roles in tumor initiation, progression, and chemotherapy resistance in a wide range of cancers. The role and targeting of SPHK1 in primary AML, however, has not been previously investigated. Here we show that SPHK1 is overexpressed and constitutively activated in primary AML patient blasts but not in normal mononuclear cells. Subsequent targeting of SPHK1 induced caspase-dependent cell death in AML cell lines, primary AML patient blasts, and isolated AML patient leukemic progenitor/stem cells, with negligible effects on normal bone marrow CD34+ progenitors from healthy donors. Furthermore, administration of SPHK1 inhibitors to orthotopic AML patient-derived xenografts reduced tumor burden and prolonged overall survival without affecting murine hematopoiesis. SPHK1 inhibition was associated with reduced survival signaling from S1P receptor 2, resulting in selective downregulation of the prosurvival protein MCL1. Subsequent analysis showed that the combination of BH3 mimetics with either SPHK1 inhibition or S1P receptor 2 antagonism triggered synergistic AML cell death. These results support the notion that SPHK1 is a bona fide therapeutic target for the treatment of AML.
Project description:Constitutive activation of the receptor tyrosine kinase Fms-like tyrosine kinase 3 (FLT3), via co-expression of its ligand or by genetic mutation, is common in acute myeloid leukemia (AML). In this study we show that FLT3 activation inhibits the activity of the tumor suppressor, protein phosphatase 2A (PP2A). Using BaF3 cells transduced with wildtype or mutant FLT3, we show that FLT3-induced PP2A inhibition sensitizes cells to the pharmacological PP2A activators, FTY720 and AAL(S). FTY720 and AAL(S) induced cell death and inhibited colony formation of FLT3 activated cells. Furthermore, PP2A activators reduced the phosphorylation of ERK and AKT, downstream targets shared by both FLT3 and PP2A, in FLT3/ITD+ BaF3 and MV4-11 cell lines. PP2A activity was lower in primary human bone marrow derived AML blasts compared to normal bone marrow, with blasts from FLT3-ITD patients displaying lower PP2A activity than WT-FLT3 blasts. Reduced PP2A activity was associated with hyperphosphorylation of the PP2A catalytic subunit, and reduced expression of PP2A structural and regulatory subunits. AML patient blasts were also sensitive to cell death induced by FTY720 and AAL(S), but these compounds had minimal effect on normal CD34+ bone marrow derived monocytes. Finally, PP2A activating compounds displayed synergistic effects when used in combination with tyrosine kinase inhibitors in FLT3-ITD+ cells. A combination of Sorafenib and FTY720 was also synergistic in the presence of a protective stromal microenvironment. Thus combining a PP2A activating compound and a FLT3 inhibitor may be a novel therapeutic approach for treating AML.
Project description:The genetic heterogeneity of acute myeloid leukemia (AML) and the variable responses of individual patients to therapy suggest that different AML genotypes may influence the bone marrow (BM) microenvironment in different ways. We performed gene expression profiling of bone marrow mesenchymal stromal cells (BM-MSC) isolated from normal C57BL/6 mice or mice inoculated with syngeneic murine leukemia cells carrying different human AML genotypes, developed in mice with Trp53 wild-type or nullgenetic backgrounds. We identified a set of genes whose expression in BM-MSC was modulated by all four AML genotypes tested. In addition, there were sets of differentially-expressed genes in AML-exposed BM-MSC that were unique to the particular AML genotype or Trp53 status. Our findings support the hypothesis that leukemia cells alter the transcriptome of surrounding BM stromal cells, in both common and genotype-specific ways. These changes are likely to be advantageous to AML cells, affecting disease progression and response to chemotherapy, and suggest opportunities for stroma-targeting therapy, including those based on AML genotype.