PurposeSurvival of CLL cells due to the presence of Bcl-2 and Mcl-1 has been established. Direct inhibition of Bcl-2 by venetoclax and indirect targeting of Mcl-1 with transcription inhibitors have been successful approaches for CLL. AMG-176 is a selective and direct antagonist of Mcl-1, which has shown efficacy in several hematologic malignancies; however, its effect on CLL is elusive. We evaluated biological and molecular effects of AMG-176 in primary CLL cells.
Experimental designUsing samples from patients (n = 74) with CLL, we tested effects of AMG-176 on CLL and normal hematopoietic cell death and compared importance of CLL prognostic factors on this biological activity. We evaluated CLL cell apoptosis in the presence of stromal cells and identified cell death pathway including stabilization of Mcl-1 protein. Finally, we tested a couplet of AMG-176 and venetoclax in CLL lymphocytes.
ResultsAMG-176 incubations resulted in time- and dose-dependent CLL cell death. At 100 and 300 nmol/L, there was 30% and 45% cell death at 24 hours. These concentrations did not result in significant cell death in normal hematopoietic cells. Presence of stroma did not affect AMG-176-induced CLL cell death. IGHV unmutated status, high ?2M and Mcl-1 protein levels resulted in slightly lower cell death. Mcl-1, but not Bcl-2 protein levels, in CLL cells increased with AMG-176. Low concentrations of venetoclax (1-30 nmol/L) were additive or synergistic with AMG-176.
ConclusionsAMG-176 is active in inducing CLL cell death while sparing normal blood cells. Combination with low-dose venetoclax was additive or synergistic.
SUBMITTER: Yi X