Targeting of mTORC1/2 by the mTOR kinase inhibitor PP242 induces apoptosis in AML cells under conditions mimicking the bone marrow microenvironment.
ABSTRACT: The interactions between the bone marrow (BM) microenvironment and acute myeloid leukemia (AML) is known to promote survival of AML cells. In this study, we used reverse phase-protein array (RPPA) technology to measure changes in multiple proteins induced by stroma in leukemic cells. We then investigated the potential of an mTOR kinase inhibitor, PP242, to disrupt leukemia/stroma interactions, and examined the effects of PP242 in vivo using a mouse model. Using RPPA, we confirmed that multiple survival signaling pathways, including the phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K)/protein kinase B (AKT)/mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR), were up-regulated in primary AML cells cocultured with stroma. PP242 effectively induced apoptosis in primary samples cultured with or without stroma. Mechanistically, PP242 attenuated the activities of mTORC1 and mTORC2, sequentially inhibited phosphorylated AKT, S6K, and 4EBP1, and concurrently suppressed chemokine receptor CXCR4 expression in primary leukemic cells and in stromal cells cultured alone or cocultured with leukemic cells. In the in vivo leukemia mouse model, PP242 inhibited mTOR signaling in leukemic cells and demonstrated a greater antileukemia effect than rapamycin. Our findings indicate that disrupting mTOR/AKT signaling with a selective mTOR kinase inhibitor can effectively target leukemic cells within the BM microenvironment.
Project description:The phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K)/Akt/mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) signaling axis plays a central role in cell proliferation, growth, and survival under physiological conditions. However, aberrant PI3K/Akt/mTOR signaling has been implicated in many human cancers, including acute myelogenous leukemia (AML). Therefore, the PI3K/Akt/mTOR network is considered as a validated target for innovative cancer therapy. The limit of acceptable toxicity for standard polychemotherapy has been reached in AML. Novel therapeutic strategies are therefore needed. This review highlights how the PI3K/Akt/mTOR signaling axis is constitutively active in AML patients, where it affects survival, proliferation, and drug-resistance of leukemic cells including leukemic stem cells. Effective targeting of this pathway with small molecule kinase inhibitors, employed alone or in combination with other drugs, could result in the suppression of leukemic cell growth. Furthermore, targeting the PI3K/Akt/mTOR signaling network with small pharmacological inhibitors, employed either alone or in combinations with other drugs, may result in less toxic and more efficacious treatment of AML patients. Efforts to exploit pharmacological inhibitors of the PI3K/Akt/mTOR cascade which show efficacy and safety in the clinical setting are now underway.
Project description:Background: The conventional chemotherapeutic regimens which applied for treatment of acute myeloid leukemia (AML) mostly target tumor bulk but not leukemic stem cells (LSCs). Aberrant expression or activation of mediators such as osteopontin (OPN) or PI3K/PTEN/Akt/mTOR pathway plays a key role in making prone to develop leukemia. Preventing or treating cancer by curcumin (CUR) has been suggested recently. CUR induces apoptosis and growth inhibition through various mechanisms in leukemic cells. In present study, we tried to measure the toxic response in vitro to CUR for evaluation ofchangesin cell viability, survival and molecular-mediated resistance in primary AML cells. Materials and Methods: Isolated primary CD34+/CD38- bone marrow derived AML cells were treated with CUR, Daunorubicin (DNR) and/or their combination by MTT assay, Annexin V/PI staining, and colony-formation. The mRNA expression of OPN/AKT/mTOR/PTEN/?-catenin genes was measured by Real-Time PCR. The siRNA against OPN was applied for CUR- treated cells. Results: Growth inhibition effect of DNR increased in combination with CUR on primary CD34+/CD38- AML cells. Suppression of OPN with siRNA increased the cytotoxic effects of CUR. Likewise, OPN gene expression increased in response to CUR treatment in AML cells. AKT, mTOR, ?-catenin or PTEN gene expression increased by CUR, but OPN siRNA decreased the level of mRNA expression of mentioned molecular pathway. Conclusion: The chemo-resistance of AML cells against therapy might be relevant to increasing of OPN mRNA expression and activity of other mediators including AKT, mTOR, PTEN, and ?-catenin. In this context, targeting of OPN might be more impact on CD34+ AML cells.
Project description:An accumulating understanding of the complex pathogenesis of acute myeloid leukemia (AML) continues to lead to promising therapeutic approaches. Among the key aberrant intracellular signaling pathways involved in AML, the phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase/AKT/mammalian target of rapamycin (PI3K/AKT/mTOR) axis is of major interest. This axis modulates a wide array of critical cellular functions, including proliferation, metabolism, and survival. Pharmacologic inhibitors of components of this pathway have been developed over the past decade, but none has an established role in the treatment of AML. This review will discuss the preclinical data and clinical results driving ongoing attempts to exploit the PI3K/AKT/mTOR pathway in patients with AML and address issues related to negative feedback loops that account for leukemic cell survival. Targeting the PI3K/AKT/mTOR pathway is of high interest for the treatment of AML, but combination therapies with other targeted agents may be needed to block negative feedback loops in leukemia cells.
Project description:mTOR activation leads to enhanced survival signaling in acute myeloid leukemia (AML) cells. The active-site mTOR inhibitors (asTORi) represent a promising new approach to targeting mTOR in AKT/mTOR signaling. MLN0128 is an orally-administered, second-generation asTORi, currently in clinical development. We examined the anti-leukemic effects and the mechanisms of action of MLN0128 in AML cell lines and primary samples, with a particular focus on its effect in AML stem/progenitor cells. MLN0128 inhibited cell proliferation and induced apoptosis in AML by attenuating the activity of mTOR complex 1 and 2. Using time-of-flight mass cytometry, we demonstrated that MLN0128 selectively targeted and functionally inhibited AML stem/progenitor cells with high AKT/mTOR signaling activity. Using the reverse-phase protein array technique, we measured expression and phosphorylation changes in response to MLN0128 in 151 proteins from 24 primary AML samples and identified several pro-survival pathways that antagonize MLN0128-induced cellular stress. A combined blockade of AKT/mTOR signaling and these pro-survival pathways facilitated AML cell killing. Our findings provide a rationale for the clinical use of MLN0128 to target AML and AML stem/progenitor cells, and support the use of combinatorial multi-targeted approaches in AML therapy.
Project description:Acute myeloid leukemia (AML) is a heterogeneous group of diseases characterized by uncontrolled proliferation of hematopoietic stem cells in the bone marrow. Malignant cell growth is characterized by disruption of normal intracellular signaling, caused by mutations or aberrant external signaling. The phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PI3K)-Akt-mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) pathway (PI3K-Akt-mTOR pathway) is among one of the intracellular pathways aberrantly upregulated in cancers including AML. Activation of this pathway seems important in leukemogenesis, and given the central role of this pathway in metabolism, the bioenergetics of AML cells may depend on downstream signaling within this pathway. Furthermore, observations suggest that constitutive activation of the PI3K-Akt-mTOR pathway differs between patients, and that increased activity within this pathway is an adverse prognostic parameter in AML. Pharmacological targeting of the PI3K-Akt-mTOR pathway with specific inhibitors results in suppression of leukemic cell growth. However, AML patients seem to differ regarding their susceptibility to various small-molecule inhibitors, reflecting biological heterogeneity in the intracellular signaling status. These findings should be further investigated in both preclinical and clinical settings, along with the potential use of this pathway as a prognostic biomarker, both in patients receiving intensive curative AML treatment and in elderly/unfit receiving AML-stabilizing treatment.
Project description:Aberrant activation of the PI3K/Akt/mTOR pathway is a common feature of acute myeloid leukemia (AML) patients contributing to chemoresistance, disease progression and unfavourable outcome. Therefore, inhibition of this pathway may represent a potential therapeutic approach in AML. The aim of this study was to evaluate the pre-clinical activity of NVP-BKM120 (BKM120), a selective pan-class I PI3K inhibitor, on AML cell lines and primary samples. Our results demonstrate that BKM120 abrogates the activity of the PI3K/Akt/mTOR signaling, promoting cell growth arrest and significant apoptosis in a dose- and time-dependent manner in AML cells but not in the normal counterpart. BKM120-induced cytotoxicity is associated with a profound modulation of metabolic behaviour in both cell lines and primary samples. In addition, BKM120 synergizes with the glycolitic inhibitor dichloroacetate enhancing apoptosis induction at lower doses. Finally, in vivo administration of BKM120 to a xenotransplant mouse model of AML significantly inhibited leukemia progression and improved the overall survival of treated mice. Taken together, our findings indicate that BKM120, alone or in combination with other drugs, has a significant anti-leukemic activity supporting its clinical development as a novel therapeutic agent in AML.
Project description:Effects of concomitant inhibition of the PI3K/AKT/mTOR pathway and Bcl-2/Bcl-xL (BCL2L1) were examined in human myeloid leukemia cells. Tetracycline-inducible Bcl-2 and Bcl-xL dual knockdown sharply increased PI3K/AKT/mTOR inhibitor lethality. Conversely, inducible knockdown or dominant-negative AKT increased, whereas constitutively active AKT reduced lethality of the Bcl-2/Bcl-xL inhibitor ABT-737. Furthermore, PI3K/mTOR inhibitors (e.g., BEZ235 and PI-103) synergistically increased ABT-737-mediated cell death in multiple leukemia cell lines and reduced colony formation in leukemic, but not normal, CD34+ cells. Notably, increased lethality was observed in four of six primary acute myelogenous leukemia (AML) specimens. Responding, but not nonresponding, samples exhibited basal AKT phosphorylation. PI3K/mTOR inhibitors markedly downregulated Mcl-1 but increased Bim binding to Bcl-2/Bcl-xL; the latter effect was abrogated by ABT-737. Combined treatment also markedly diminished Bax/Bak binding to Mcl-1, Bcl-2, or Bcl-xL. Bax, Bak, or Bim (BCL2L11) knockdown or Mcl-1 overexpression significantly diminished regimen-induced apoptosis. Interestingly, pharmacologic inhibition or short hairpin RNA knockdown of GSK3?/? significantly attenuated Mcl-1 downregulation and decreased apoptosis. In a systemic AML xenograft model, dual tetracycline-inducible knockdown of Bcl-2/Bcl-xL sharply increased BEZ235 antileukemic effects. In a subcutaneous xenograft model, BEZ235 and ABT-737 coadministration significantly diminished tumor growth, downregulated Mcl-1, activated caspases, and prolonged survival. Together, these findings suggest that antileukemic synergism between PI3K/AKT/mTOR inhibitors and BH3 mimetics involves multiple mechanisms, including Mcl-1 downregulation, release of Bim from Bcl-2/Bcl-xL as well as Bak and Bax from Mcl-1/Bcl-2/Bcl-xL, and GSK3?/?, culminating in Bax/Bak activation and apoptosis. They also argue that combining PI3K/AKT/mTOR inhibitors with BH3 mimetics warrants attention in AML, particularly in the setting of basal AKT activation and/or addiction.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Acute myeloid leukemia (AML) patients with highly active AKT tend to do poorly. Cell cycle arrest and apoptosis are tightly regulated by AKT via phosphorylation of GSK3? and ? isoforms which inactivates these kinases. In the current study we examine the prognostic role of AKT mediated GSK3 phosphorylation in AML. METHODS:We analyzed GSK3?/? phosphorylation by reverse phase protein analysis (RPPA) in a cohort of 511 acute myeloid leukemia (AML) patients. Levels of phosphorylated GSK3 were correlated with patient characteristics including survival and with expression of other proteins important in AML cell survival. RESULTS:High levels of p-GSK3?/? correlated with adverse overall survival and a lower incidence of complete remission duration in patients with intermediate cytogenetics, but not in those with unfavorable cytogenetics. Intermediate cytogenetic patients with FLT3 mutation also fared better respectively when p-GSK3?/? levels were lower. Phosphorylated GSK3?/? expression was compared and contrasted with that of 229 related cell cycle arrest and/or apoptosis proteins. Consistent with p-GSK3?/? as an indicator of AKT activation, RPPA revealed that p-GSK3?/? positively correlated with phosphorylation of AKT, BAD, and P70S6K, and negatively correlated with ?-catenin and FOXO3A. PKC? also positively correlated with p-GSK3?/? expression, suggesting crosstalk between the AKT and PKC signaling pathways in AML cells. CONCLUSIONS:These findings suggest that AKT-mediated phosphorylation of GSK3?/? may be beneficial to AML cell survival, and hence detrimental to the overall survival of AML patients. Intrinsically, p-GSK3?/? may serve as an important adverse prognostic factor for a subset of AML patients.
Project description:In acute myeloid leukemia (AML), high Galectin 3 (LGALS3) expression is associated with poor prognosis. The role of LGALS3 derived from mesenchymal stromal cells (MSC) in the AML microenvironment is unclear; however, we have recently found high LGALS3 expression in MSC derived from AML patients is associated with relapse. In this study, we used reverse phase protein analysis (RPPA) to correlate LGALS3 expression in AML MSC with 119 other proteins including variants of these proteins such as phosphorylated forms or cleaved forms to identify biologically relevant pathways. RPPA revealed that LGALS3 protein was positively correlated with expression of thirteen proteins including MYC, phosphorylated beta-Catenin (p-CTNNB1), and AKT2 and negatively correlated with expression of six proteins including integrin beta 3 (ITGB3). String analysis revealed that proteins positively correlated with LGALS3 showed strong interconnectivity. Consistent with the RPPA results, LGALS3 suppression by shRNA in MSC resulted in decreased MYC and AKT expression while ITGB3 was induced. In co-culture, the ability of AML cell to adhere to MSC LGALS3 shRNA transductants was reduced compared to AML cell adhesion to MSC control shRNA transductants. Finally, use of novel specific LGALS3 inhibitor CBP.001 in co-culture of AML cells with MSC reduced viable leukemia cell populations with induced apoptosis and augmented the chemotherapeutic effect of AraC. In summary, the current study demonstrates that MSC-derived LGALS3 may be critical for important biological pathways for MSC homeostasis and for regulating AML cell localization and survival in the leukemia microenvironmental niche.
Project description:Given the proven importance of the CXCL12/CXCR4 axis in the stroma-acute myeloid leukemia (AML) interactions and the rapid emergence of resistance to FLT3 inhibitors, we investigated the efficacy and safety of a novel CXCR4 inhibitor, LY2510924, in combination with FLT3 inhibitors in preclinical models of AML with FLT3-ITD mutations (FLT3-ITD-AML). Quizartinib, a potent FLT3 inhibitor, induced apoptosis in FLT3-ITD-AML, while LY2510924 blocked surface CXCR4 without inducing apoptosis. LY2510924 significantly reversed stroma-mediated resistance against quizartinib mainly through the MAPK pathway. In mice with established FLT3-ITD-AML, LY2510924 induced durable mobilization and differentiation of leukemia cells, resulting in enhanced anti-leukemia effects when combined with quizartinib, whereas transient effects were seen on non-leukemic blood cells in immune-competent mice. Sequencing of the transcriptome of the leukemic cells surviving in vivo treatment with quizartinib and LY2510924 revealed that genes related to TGF-b signaling may confer resistance against the drug combination. In co-culture experiments of FLT3-ITD-AML and stromal cells, both silencing of TGF-b in stromal cells or TGF-b-receptor kinase inhibitor enhanced apoptosis by combined treatment. Disruption of the CXCL12/CXCR4 axis in FLT3-ITD-AML by LY2510924 and its negligible effects on normal immunocytes could safely enhance the potency of quizartinib, which may be further improved by blockade of TGF-b signaling.