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The novel BMI-1 inhibitor PTC596 downregulates MCL-1 and induces p53-independent mitochondrial apoptosis in acute myeloid leukemia progenitor cells

Nishida, Y., Maeda, A., Kim, M.J. et al.

Disease recurrence is the major problem in the treatment of acute myeloid leukemia (AML). Relapse is driven by leukemia stem cells, a chemoresistant subpopulation capable of re-establishing disease. Patients with p53 mutant AML are at an extremely high risk of relapse. B-cell-specific Moloney murine leukemia virus integration site 1 (BMI-1) is required for the self-renewal and maintenance of AML stem cells. Here we studied the effects of a novel small molecule inhibitor of BMI-1, PTC596, in AML cells. Treatment with PTC596 reduced MCL-1 expression and triggered several molecular events consistent with induction of mitochondrial apoptosis: loss of mitochondrial membrane potential, BAX conformational change, caspase-3 cleavage and phosphatidylserine externalization. PTC596 induced apoptosis in a p53-independent manner. PTC596 induced apoptosis along with the reduction of MCL-1 and phosphorylated AKT in patient-derived CD34+CD38low/− stem/progenitor cells. Mouse xenograft models demonstrated in vivo anti-leukemia activity of PTC596, which inhibited leukemia cell growth in vivo while sparing normal hematopoietic cells. Our results indicate that PTC596 deserves further evaluation in clinical trials for refractory or relapsed AML patients, especially for those with unfavorable complex karyotype or therapy-related AML that are frequently associated with p53 mutations.

Citation

Nishida, Y., Maeda, A., Kim, M.J. et al. "The novel BMI-1 inhibitor PTC596 downregulates MCL-1 and induces p53-independent mitochondrial apoptosis in acute myeloid leukemia progenitor cells" Blood Cancer Journal (2017): e527