MEK1/2 inhibitors sensitize BCR/ABL+ human leukemia cells to the dual ABL/SRC inhibitor BMS354825

Nguyen TK, Rahmani M, Harada H, Dent P, Grant S
Source: Blood
Publication Date: (2007)
Issue: 109(9): 4006-15
Research Area:
Cancer Research/Cell Biology
Immunotherapy / Hematology
Cells used in publication:
Species: human
Tissue Origin: blood
Nucleofector® I/II/2b
Interactions between MEK1/2 inhibitors and the dual Abl/Src kinase inhibitor dasatinib (BMS-354825) were examined in chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) cell lines and primary specimens. Cotreatment of K562 or LAMA cells with subtoxic or marginally toxic concentrations of PD184352 (or U0126) and dasatinib synergistically potentiated mitochondrial damage, caspase activation, and apoptosis. Similar interactions were observed in CD34(+) cells from one CML patient-derived but not in a normal human CD34(+) bone marrow cell specimen. These interactions were associated with multiple perturbations in survival signaling pathways, including inactivation of Bcr/Abl, STAT5, and ERK1/2; down-regulation of Bcl-x(L) and Mcl-1; and dephosphorylation/activation of Bim. They were also associated with BAX/BAK conformational change, mitochondrial dysfunction, and caspase activation. Bim knockdown by shRNA suppressed BAX and BAK conformational change and protected cells from dasatinib/PD184352 lethality. Conversely, K562 cells ectopically expressing Mcl-1 or Bcl-x(L) were significantly less susceptible to dasatinib/PD184352 toxicity. Notably, the dasatinib/PD184352 regimen was active against leukemic cells exhibiting various forms of imatinib mesylate resistance, including Bcr/Abl overexpression, Lyn activation, and several Bcr/Abl kinase domain mutations (eg, E255K, M351T), but not T315I. Together, these findings suggest that strategies combining dasatanib with MEK1/2 inhibitors warrant further investigation in Bcr/Abl(+) malignancies, particularly in the setting of imatinib mesylate-resistant disease.