BIM mediates synergistic killing of B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia cells by BCL-2 and MEK inhibitors.
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B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (B-ALL) is an aggressive hematological disease that kills ~50% of adult patients. With the exception of some BCR-ABL1(+) patients who benefit from tyrosine kinase inhibitors, there are no effective targeted therapies for adult B-ALL patients and chemotherapy remains first-line therapy despite adverse side effects and poor efficacy. We show that, although the MEK/ERK pathway is activated in B-ALL cells driven by different oncogenes, MEK inhibition does not suppress B-ALL cell growth. However, MEK inhibition synergized with BCL-2/BCL-XL family inhibitors to suppress proliferation and induce apoptosis in B-ALL cells. We show that this synergism is mediated by the pro-apoptotic factor BIM, which is dephosphorylated as a result of MEK inhibition, allowing it to bind to and neutralize MCL-1, thereby enhancing BCL-2/BCL-XL inhibitor-induced cell death. This cooperative effect is observed in B-ALL cells driven by a range of genetic abnormalities and therefore has significant therapeutic potential.
AuthorsKorfi, K; Smith, M; Swan, J; Somervaille, TC; Dhomen, N; Marais, R
- College Publications