The concept of leukemic stem cells (LSCs) has been developed to explain the complex cellular hierarchy and biology of leukemias, and to screen for pivotal targets that can be employed to improve drug therapies through LSC-eradication in these patients. Some of the newly discovered LSC-markers seem to be expressed in a disease-specific manner and may thus serve as major research-tools and diagnostic parameters. A useful LSC-marker in chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) appears to be CD26, also known as dipeptidyl-peptidase IV (DPPIV). Expression of CD26 is largely restricted to CD34(+) /CD38(?) LSCs in BCR/ABL1(+) CML, but is not found on LSCs in other myeloid or lymphoid neoplasms, with the exception of lymphoid blast crisis of CML, BCR/ABL1p210 + acute lymphoblastic leukemia, and a very few cases of acute myeloid leukemia. Moreover, CD26 is usually not expressed on normal bone marrow stem cells. Functionally, CD26 is a cytokine-targeting surface enzyme that may facilitate the mobilization of LSCs from the bone marrow niche. In the current article we review our current knowledge about the biology and function of CD26 on CML LSCs and discuss the diagnostic potential of this new LSC marker in clinical hematology. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
Chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) is a stem cell (SC) neoplasm characterized by the BCR/ABL1 oncogene. Although mechanisms of BCR/ABL1-induced transformation are well-defined, little is known about effector-molecules contributing to malignant expansion and the extramedullary spread of leukemic SC (LSC) in CML. We have identified the cytokine-targeting surface enzyme dipeptidylpeptidase-IV (DPPIV/CD26) as a novel, specific and pathogenetically relevant biomarker of CD34(+)/CD38(?) CML LSC. In functional assays, CD26 was identified as target enzyme disrupting the SDF-1-CXCR4-axis by cleaving SDF-1, a chemotaxin recruiting CXCR4(+) SC. CD26 was not detected on normal SC or LSC in other hematopoietic malignancies. Correspondingly, CD26(+) LSC decreased to low or undetectable levels during successful treatment with imatinib. CD26(+) CML LSC engrafted NOD-SCID-IL-2R?(-/-) (NSG) mice with BCR/ABL1(+) cells, whereas CD26(?) SC from the same patients produced multilineage BCR/ABL1(-) engraftment. Finally, targeting of CD26 by gliptins suppressed the expansion of BCR/ABL1(+) cells. Together, CD26 is a new biomarker and target of CML LSC. CD26 expression may explain the abnormal extramedullary spread of CML LSC, and inhibition of CD26 may revert abnormal LSC function and support curative treatment approaches in this malignancy.
Advanced systemic mastocytosis (SM) is an aggressive hematopoietic neoplasm with poor prognosis and short survival times. So far, no curative therapy is available for affected patients. We have identified the cell surface antigen CD52 (CAMPATH-1) as a molecular target expressed abundantly on the surface of primary neoplastic mast cells (MCs) in patients with advanced SM. In contrast, neoplastic MCs of patients with indolent SM and normal MCs expressed only low levels or did not express CD52. To study the mechanisms of CD52 expression and the value of this antigen as a potential therapeutic target, we generated a human MC cell line, designated MCPV-1, by lentiviral immortalization of cord blood-derived MC progenitor cells. Functional studies revealed that activated RAS profoundly promotes surface expression of CD52. The CD52-targeting antibody alemtuzumab induced cell death in CD52(+) primary neoplastic MCs obtained from patients with SM as well as in MCPV-1 cells. NSG mice xenotransplanted with MCPV-1 cells survived significantly longer after treatment with alemtuzumab (median survival: 31 d untreated vs. 46 d treated; P=0.0012). We conclude that CD52 is a novel marker and potential therapeutic target in neoplastic MCs in patients with advanced SM.
Der p 23, a new, major house dust mite (HDM) allergen that is recognized by >70% of HDM-allergic patients, has high allergenic activity and, therefore, must be considered an important component for HDM-specific immunotherapy. We constructed and characterized a hypoallergenic Der p 23 vaccine for HDM immunotherapy. Three nonallergenic peptides from the C-terminal IgE epitope-containing part of Der p 23 (P4, P5) and P6, a mutant peptide containing serines instead of cysteines, were identified. Peptides were fused to the hepatitis B virus-derived PreS domain as recombinant fusion proteins (i.e., PreS-2XP4P5 and PreS-4XP6) that were expressed in Escherichia coli and purified to homogeneity. Compared with Der p 23, PreS-2XP4P5 and PreS-4XP6 showed no relevant IgE reactivity and exhibited considerably reduced allergenic activity in basophil activation tests using blood from HDM-allergic patients. Upon immunization of rabbits, only PreS-2XP4P5 induced high levels of Der p 23-specific IgG Abs that inhibited binding of patients' IgE to Der p 23, comparable to IgG Abs induced with Der p 23, whereas Abs induced with PreS-4XP6 had only low blocking capacity. Additionally, IgG Abs induced with PreS-2XP4P5 inhibited Der p 23-induced basophil activation comparable to IgG Abs induced with Der p 23. Compared with Der p 23, PreS-2XP4P5 induced lower T cell proliferation but higher levels of the tolerogenic cytokine IL-10 and the Th1 cytokine IFN-? in PBMCs from HDM-allergic patients, indicating an immunomodulatory capacity of the fusion protein. Therefore, PreS-2XP4P5 represents a promising candidate for immunotherapy of HDM-allergic patients.
In systemic mastocytosis (SM), clinical problems arise from factor-independent proliferation of mast cells (MCs) and the increased release of mediators by MCs, but no human cell line model for studying MC activation in the context of SM is available. We have created a stable stem cell factor (SCF) -dependent human MC line, ROSA(KIT WT), expressing a fully functional immunoglobulin E (IgE) receptor. Transfection with KIT D816V converted ROSA(KIT WT) cells into an SCF-independent clone, ROSA(KIT D816V), which produced a mastocytosis-like disease in NSG mice. Although several signaling pathways were activated, ROSA(KIT D816V) did not exhibit an increased, but did exhibit a decreased responsiveness to IgE-dependent stimuli. Moreover, NSG mice bearing ROSA(KIT D816V)-derived tumors did not show mediator-related symptoms, and KIT D816V-positive MCs obtained from patients with SM did not show increased IgE-dependent histamine release or CD63 upregulation. Our data show that KIT D816V is a disease-propagating oncoprotein, but it does not activate MCs to release proinflammatory mediators, which may explain why mediator-related symptoms in SM occur preferentially in the context of a coexisting allergy. ROSA(KIT D816V) may provide a valuable tool for studying the pathogenesis of mastocytosis and should facilitate the development of novel drugs for treating SM patients.
House dust mites (HDMs) belong to the most potent indoor allergen sources worldwide and are associated with allergic manifestations in the respiratory tract and the skin. Here we studied the importance of the high-molecular-weight group 11 allergen from Dermatophagoides pteronyssinus (Der p 11) in HDM allergy. Sequence analysis showed that Der p 11 has high homology to paramyosins from mites, ticks, and other invertebrates. A synthetic gene coding for Der p 11 was expressed in Escherichia coli and rDer p 11 purified to homogeneity as folded, alpha-helical protein as determined by circular dichroism spectroscopy. Using antibodies raised against rDer p 11 and immunogold electron microscopy, the allergen was localized in the muscle beneath the skin of mite bodies but not in feces. IgE reactivity of rDer p 11 was tested with sera from HDM-allergic patients from Europe and Africa in radioallergosorbent test-based dot-blot assays. Interestingly, we found that Der p 11 is a major allergen for patients suffering from atopic dermatitis (AD), whereas it is only a minor allergen for patients suffering from respiratory forms of HDM allergy. Thus, rDer p 11 might be a useful serological marker allergen for the identification of a subgroup of HDM-allergic patients suffering from HDM-associated AD.Journal of Investigative Dermatology advance online publication, 25 September 2014; doi:10.1038/jid.2014.271.
Mast cell leukemia (MCL) is a life-threatening disease associated with high mortality and drug-resistance. Only few patients survive more than 12 months. We report on a 55-year-old female patient with acute MCL diagnosed in May 2012. The disease was characterized by a rapid increase in white blood cells and mast cells (MC) in the peripheral blood, and a rapid increase of serum tryptase levels. The KIT D816H mutation was detected in the blood and bone marrow (BM). Induction chemotherapy with high-dose ARA-C and fludarabine (FLAG) was administered. Unexpectedly, the patient entered a hematologic remission with almost complete disappearance of neoplastic MC and a decrease of serum tryptase levels to normal range after 2 cycles of FLAG. Consecutively, the patient was prepared for allogeneic stem cell transplantation. However, shortly after the third cycle of FLAG, tryptase levels increased again, immature MC appeared in the blood, and the patient died from cerebral bleeding. Together, this case shows that intensive chemotherapy regimens, like FLAG, may induce remission in acute MCL. However, treatment responses are short-lived and the overall outcome remains dismal in these patients. We propose to separate this acute type of MCL from more subacute or chronic variants of MCL.
The major turnip (Brassica rapa) pollen allergen, belongs to a family of calcium-binding proteins (i.e., two EF-hand proteins), which occur as highly cross-reactive allergens in pollen of weeds, grasses and trees. In this study, the IgE binding capacity and allergenic activity of three recombinant allergen variants containing mutations in their calcium-binding sites were analyzed in sensitized patients with the aim to identify the most suitable hypoallergenic molecule for specific immunotherapy. Analysis of the wildtype allergen and the mutants regarding IgE reactivity and activation of basophils in allergic patients indicated that the allergen derivative mutated in both calcium-binding domains had the lowest allergenic activity. Gel filtration and circular dichroism experiments showed that both, the wildtype and the double mutant, occurred as dimers in solution and assumed alpha-helical fold, respectively. However, both fold and thermal stability were considerably reduced in the double mutant. The use of bioinformatic tools for evaluation of the solvent accessibility and charge distribution suggested that the reduced IgE reactivity and different structural properties of the double mutant may be due to a loss of negatively charged amino acids on the surface. Interestingly, immunization of rabbits showed that only the double mutant but not the wildtype allergen induced IgG antibodies which recognized the allergen and blocked binding of allergic patients IgE. Due to the extensive structural similarity and cross-reactivity between calcium-binding pollen allergens the hypoallergenic double mutant may be useful not only for immunotherapy of turnip pollen allergy, but also for the treatment of allergies to other two EF-hand pollen allergens.
Patients with advanced systemic mastocytosis, including mast cell leukemia, have a poor prognosis. In these patients, neoplastic mast cells usually harbor the KIT mutant D816V that confers resistance against tyrosine kinase inhibitors. We examined the effects of the multi-kinase blocker ponatinib on neoplastic mast cells and investigated whether ponatinib acts synergistically with other antineoplastic drugs. Ponatinib was found to inhibit the kinase activity of KIT G560V and KIT D816V in the human mast cell leukemia cell line HMC-1. In addition, ponatinib was found to block Lyn- and STAT5 activity in neoplastic mast cells. Ponatinib induced growth inhibition and apoptosis in HMC-1.1 cells (KIT G560V(+)) and HMC-1.2 cells (KIT G560V(+)/KIT D816V(+)) as well as in primary neoplastic mast cells. The effects of ponatinib were dose-dependent, but higher IC50-values were obtained in HMC-1 cells harboring KIT D816V than in those lacking KIT D816V. In drug combination experiments, ponatinib was found to synergize with midostaurin in producing growth inhibition and apoptosis in HMC-1 cells and primary neoplastic mast cells. The ponatinib+midostaurin combination induced substantial inhibition of KIT-, Lyn-, and STAT5 activity, but did not suppress Btk. We then applied a Btk short interfering RNA and found that Btk knockdown sensitizes HMC-1 cells against ponatinib. Finally, we were able to show that ponatinib synergizes with the Btk-targeting drug dasatinib to produce growth inhibition in HMC-1 cells. In conclusion, ponatinib exerts major growth-inhibitory effects on neoplastic mast cells in advanced systemic mastocytosis and synergizes with midostaurin and dasatinib in inducing growth arrest in neoplastic mast cells.
Allergen-specific immunotherapy is the only allergen-specific and disease-modifying treatment for allergy. The construction and characterization of a vaccine for birch pollen allergy is reported. Two nonallergenic peptides, PA and PB, derived from the IgE-reactive areas of the major birch pollen allergen Bet v 1 were fused to the hepatitis B surface protein, PreS, in four recombinant fusion proteins containing different numbers and combinations of the peptides. Fusion proteins expressed in Escherichia coli and purified to homogeneity showed a lack of IgE reactivity and allergenic activity when tested with sera and basophils from patients allergic to birch pollen. Compared to Bet v 1 allergen, peptides PA and PB showed reduced T cell activation in PBMCs from allergic patients, whereas PreS fusion proteins induced less IL-5 and more IL-10 and IFN-?. Immunization of rabbits with the fusion proteins, in particular with a PreS fusion protein 2PAPB-PreS, containing two copies of each peptide, induced high levels of IgG Abs against the major IgE-reactive site on Bet v 1 and related allergens. These IgG Abs inhibited allergic patients IgE binding to Bet v 1 better than did IgG induced by immunization with complete Bet v 1. Furthermore, 2PAPB-PreS-induced IgG inhibited Bet v 1-induced basophil activation in allergic patients and CD23-facilitated allergen presentation. Our study exemplifies novel beneficial features for a PreS carrier-based peptide vaccine for birch pollen, which, in addition to the established reduction in allergenic activity, include the enhanced focusing of blocking Ab responses toward IgE epitopes, immunomodulatory activity, and reduction of CD23-facilitated allergen presentation.
Disordered stem cell epigenetics and apoptosis-regulating mechanisms contribute essentially to the pathogenesis of myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS) and may trigger disease-progression to secondary acute myeloid leukemia (AML). Expression of apoptosis-mediators FAS (CD95) and DAPK1 the latter being also known for its association with autophagy are upregulated in neoplastic cells in patients with low-risk MDS and epigenetically silenced and downregulated in high-risk MDS and AML as confirmed by a study 50 MDS and 30 AMLs complementing this review. 5-Azacytidine (AZA) and 5-aza-2deoxycytidine (DAC), promoted FAS and DAPK1 gene demethylation and their (re)expression as well as apoptosis in leukemic cell lines (HL-60, KG1) which can be reversed by siRNA against FAS. Thus, promoter-demethylation of FAS and DAPK1 represents a critical mechanism of drug-induced apoptosis in neoplastic cells in MDS and AML which underscores the clinical implication of epigenetically active therapies.
Philadelphia chromosome-positive acute lymphoblastic leukemia (Ph+ ALL) is in part driven by the tyrosine kinase bcr-abl, but imatinib does not produce long-term remission. Therefore, second-generation ABL inhibitors are currently in clinical investigation. Considering different target specificities and the pronounced genetic heterogeneity of Ph+ ALL, which contributes to the aggressiveness of the disease, drug candidates should be evaluated with regard to their effects on the entire Ph+ ALL-specific signaling network. Here, we applied an integrated experimental and computational approach that allowed us to estimate the differential impact of the bcr-abl inhibitors nilotinib, dasatinib, Bosutinib and Bafetinib. First, we determined drug-protein interactions in Ph+ ALL cell lines by chemical proteomics. We then mapped those interactions along with known genetic lesions onto public protein-protein interactions. Computation of global scores through correlation of target affinity, network topology, and distance to disease-relevant nodes assigned the highest impact to dasatinib, which was subsequently confirmed by proliferation assays. In future, combination of patient-specific genomic information with detailed drug target knowledge and network-based computational analysis should allow for an accurate and individualized prediction of therapy.
The JAK2 mutation V617F is detectable in a majority of patients with Philadelphia chromosome-negative myeloproliferative neoplasms (MPNs). Enforced expression of JAK2 V617F in mice induces myeloproliferation and bone marrow (BM) fibrosis, suggesting a causal role for the JAK2 mutant in the pathogenesis of MPNs. However, little is known about mechanisms and effector molecules contributing to JAK2 V617F-induced myeloproliferation and fibrosis. We show that JAK2 V617F promotes expression of oncostatin M (OSM) in neoplastic myeloid cells. Correspondingly, OSM mRNA levels were increased in the BM of patients with MPNs (median 287% of ABL, range 22-1450%) compared to control patients (median 59% of ABL, range 12-264%; P < 0.0001). OSM secreted by JAK2 V617F+ cells stimulated growth of fibroblasts and microvascular endothelial cells and induced the production of angiogenic and profibrogenic cytokines (HGF, VEGF, and SDF-1) in BM fibroblasts. All effects of MPN cell-derived OSM were blocked by a neutralizing anti-OSM antibody, whereas the production of OSM in MPN cells was suppressed by a pharmacologic JAK2 inhibitor or RNAi-mediated knockdown of JAK2. In summary, JAK2 V617F-mediated up-regulation of OSM may contribute to fibrosis, neoangiogenesis, and the cytokine storm observed in MPNs, suggesting that OSM might serve as a novel therapeutic target molecule in these neoplasms.
Expression of allergens in human cells is a prerequisite for the development of antigen-specific cell therapy in IgE-mediated allergy. We developed a strategy how the clinically relevant major grass pollen allergen Phl p 5 can be efficiently secreted or expressed on the surface of human cells with preserved allergenic activity.
Allergic inflammation is based on the cross-linking of mast cell and basophil-bound IgE Abs and requires at least two binding sites for IgE on allergens, which are difficult to characterize because they are often conformational in nature. We studied the IgE recognition of birch pollen allergen Bet v 1, a major allergen for >100 million allergic patients. Monoclonal and polyclonal Abs raised against Bet v 1-derived peptides were used to compete with allergic patients IgE binding to Bet v 1 to search for sequences involved in IgE recognition. Strong inhibitions of patients IgE binding to Bet v 1 (52-75%) were obtained with mAbs specific for two peptides comprising aa 29-58 (P2) and aa 73-103 (P6) of Bet v 1. As determined by surface plasmon resonance, mAb2 specific for P2 and mAb12 specific for P6 showed high affinity, but only polyclonal rabbit anti-P2 and anti-P6 Abs or a combination of mAbs inhibited allergen-induced basophil degranulation. Thus, P2 and P6 define a surface patch on the Bet v 1 allergen, which allows simultaneous binding of several different IgE Abs required for efficient basophil and mast cell activation. This finding explains the high allergenic activity of the Bet v 1 allergen. The approach of using peptide-specific Abs for the mapping of conformational IgE epitopes on allergens may be generally applicable. It may allow discriminating highly allergenic from less allergenic allergen molecules and facilitate the rational design of active and passive allergen-specific immunotherapy strategies.
Epigenetic pathways can regulate gene expression by controlling and interpreting chromatin modifications. Cancer cells are characterized by altered epigenetic landscapes, and commonly exploit the chromatin regulatory machinery to enforce oncogenic gene expression programs. Although chromatin alterations are, in principle, reversible and often amenable to drug intervention, the promise of targeting such pathways therapeutically has been limited by an incomplete understanding of cancer-specific dependencies on epigenetic regulators. Here we describe a non-biased approach to probe epigenetic vulnerabilities in acute myeloid leukaemia (AML), an aggressive haematopoietic malignancy that is often associated with aberrant chromatin states. By screening a custom library of small hairpin RNAs (shRNAs) targeting known chromatin regulators in a genetically defined AML mouse model, we identify the protein bromodomain-containing 4 (Brd4) as being critically required for disease maintenance. Suppression of Brd4 using shRNAs or the small-molecule inhibitor JQ1 led to robust antileukaemic effects in vitro and in vivo, accompanied by terminal myeloid differentiation and elimination of leukaemia stem cells. Similar sensitivities were observed in a variety of human AML cell lines and primary patient samples, revealing that JQ1 has broad activity in diverse AML subtypes. The effects of Brd4 suppression are, at least in part, due to its role in sustaining Myc expression to promote aberrant self-renewal, which implicates JQ1 as a pharmacological means to suppress MYC in cancer. Our results establish small-molecule inhibition of Brd4 as a promising therapeutic strategy in AML and, potentially, other cancers, and highlight the utility of RNA interference (RNAi) screening for revealing epigenetic vulnerabilities that can be exploited for direct pharmacological intervention.
In order to reduce side effects in the course of allergen specific immunotherapy hypoallergenic allergen derivatives with reduced IgE reactivity have been made by genetic engineering. In contrast to other recombinant hypoallergenic allergen derivatives which showed reduced IgE reactivity, a recombinant trimer of the major birch pollen allergen Bet v 1 showed reduced allergenic activity despite preserved IgE reactivity. We studied rBet v 1 trimer by SDS-PAGE, mass spectrometry, circular dichroism and gel filtration. Furthermore we investigated IgE and IgG reactivity of the rBet v 1 trimer in solid and liquid phase assays and compared its allergenic activity with that of rBet v 1 wildtype using basophil activation assays. In solid phase immunoassays rBet v 1 trimer exhibited even stronger IgE reactivity than the rBet v 1 wildtype, whereas both proteins were equally well recognized by Bet v 1-specific IgG antibody probes. In fluid phase IgE experiments rBet v 1 trimer inhibited IgE reactivity to rBet v 1 wildtype but showed a more than 10-fold reduced allergenic activity compared to the rBet v 1 monomer. By analytical gel filtration it was demonstrated that, despite its monomeric appearance in SDS-PAGE the trimer occurred in fluid phase in the form of defined high molecular weight (>600 kDa) aggregates whereas rBet v 1 wildtype strictly appeared as monomeric protein. The results indicate that the hypoallergenic nature of the rBet v 1 trimer is due to formation of defined high molecular weight aggregates which may be responsible for an altered presentation of IgE epitopes in a form with reduced capacity to crosslink effector-cell bound IgE. We thus provide evidence for a novel mechanism for hypoallergenic activity.
In most patients with systemic mastocytosis (SM), including aggressive SM (ASM) and mast cell (MC) leukemia (MCL), neoplastic cells express the oncogenic KIT mutation D816V, which confers resistance to imatinib. Cladribine (2CdA) is a nucleoside analog that has been introduced as a promising agent for treatment of advanced SM.
Advanced systemic mastocytosis (SM) is characterized by uncontrolled growth of neoplastic mast cells (MC) and drug resistance. The tyrosine kinase receptor KIT is often mutated and activated and thus contributes to malignant growth of MC. Therefore, KIT-targeting drugs are currently tested for their ability to block growth of malignant MC.
IgE is a central molecule in allergic disease. We have isolated cDNAs coding for the heavy and light chains of a murine mAb specific to human IgE and expressed a recombinant single-chain variable fragment (ScFv) derived thereof in Escherichia coli. The purified recombinant ScFv has a molecular mass of 28 kDa as measured by mass spectrometry and shows a beta-sheet fold as determined by circular dichroism. In biosensor-based studies it was demonstrated that the ScFv rapidly and stably binds to human IgE with an affinity of K(D) of 1.52 x 10(-10) M, which is almost as high as the affinity of IgE for FcepsilonRI, and that the ScFv is able to recognize FcepsilonRI-bound IgE and to prevent IgE binding to FcepsilonRI. The ScFv reacts specifically with IgE but not with other isotypes, allows the measurement of allergen-specific IgE in serum samples, and specifically targets cells that contain FcepsilonRI- or FcepsilonRII-bound IgE or that secrete IgE. Using negative-stain electron microscopy we demonstrated the formation of bimolecular complexes consisting of two ScFv molecules and one IgE and trimolecular complexes consisting of IgE, FcepsilonRI, and ScFv in which only one ScFv is able to bind to IgE. Accordingly, we found that the ScFv does not cross-link basophil-bound IgE and hence does not induce histamine release or activation of basophils as demonstrated by FACS analysis of CD203c expression and by histamine release experiments. In vivo skin testing confirmed the lack of allergenic activity of the ScFv. The recombinant ScFv may represent a universal tool for the IgE-targeted treatment of allergies.
Acute myeloid leukemia (AML) is a life-threatening stem cell disease characterized by uncontrolled proliferation and accumulation of myeloblasts. Using an advanced RNAi screen-approach in an AML mouse model we have recently identified the epigenetic reader BRD4 as a promising target in AML. In the current study, we asked whether inhibition of BRD4 by a small-molecule inhibitor, JQ1, leads to growth-inhibition and apoptosis in primary human AML stem- and progenitor cells. Primary cell samples were obtained from 37 patients with freshly diagnosed AML (n=23) or refractory AML (n=14). BRD4 was found to be expressed at the mRNA and protein level in unfractionated AML cells as well as in highly enriched CD34?/CD38? and CD34?/CD38? stem- and progenitor cells in all patients examined. In unfractionated leukemic cells, submicromolar concentrations of JQ1 induced major growth-inhibitory effects (IC?? 0.05-0.5 µM) in most samples, including cells derived from relapsed or refractory patients. In addition, JQ1 was found to induce apoptosis in CD34+/CD38? and CD34?/CD38? stem- and progenitor cells in all donors examined as evidenced by combined surface/Annexin-V staining. Moreover, we were able to show that JQ1 synergizes with ARA-C in inducing growth inhibition in AML cells. Together, the BRD4-targeting drug JQ1 exerts major anti-leukemic effects in a broad range of human AML subtypes, including relapsed and refractory patients and all relevant stem- and progenitor cell compartments, including CD34?/CD38? and CD34?/CD38? AML cells. These results characterize BRD4-inhibition as a promising new therapeutic approach in AML which should be further investigated in clinical trials.
Dasatinib is a multikinase inhibitor active against several tyrosine kinases including ABL, KIT, Lyn and Btk. Apart from its known antileukemic activity, the drug produces several side effects including edemas and pleural effusions, which are supposedly triggered by activated immune cells. Effusion formation can be treated effectively by glucocorticosteroids. We have recently shown that low concentrations of dasatinib (<0.1 µM) promote IgE-dependent secretion of histamine in basophils, especially in allergic individuals. In the current study, we asked whether glucocorticosteroids inhibit dasatinib-induced activation of basophils.
Aggressive systemic mastocytosis (ASM) and mast cell leukemia (MCL) are advanced hematopoietic neoplasms with poor prognosis. In these patients, neoplastic mast cells (MCs) are resistant against various drugs. We examined the effects of 2 demethylating agents, 5-azacytidine and decitabine on growth and survival of neoplastic MCs and the MC line HMC-1. Two HMC-1 subclones were used, HMC-1.1 lacking KIT D816V and HMC-1.2 exhibiting KIT D816V. Both agents induced apoptosis in HMC-1.1 and HMC-1.2 cells. Decitabine, but not 5-azacytidine, also produced a G(2)/M cell-cycle arrest in HMC-1 cells. Drug-induced apoptosis was accompanied by cleavage of caspase-8 and caspase-3 as well as FAS-demethylation and FAS-re-expression in neoplastic MCs. Furthermore, both demethylating agents were found to synergize with the FAS-ligand in inducing apoptosis in neoplastic MCs. Correspondingly, siRNA against FAS was found to block drug-induced expression of FAS and drug-induced apoptosis in HMC-1 cells. Neither 5-azacytidine nor decitabine induced substantial apoptosis or growth arrest in normal MCs or normal bone marrow cells. Together, 5-azacytidine and decitabine exert growth-inhibitory and proapoptotic effects in neoplastic MCs. These effects are mediated through "FAS-re-expression" and are augmented by the FAS-ligand. Whether epigenetic drugs produce antineoplastic effects in vivo in patients with ASM and MCL remains to be determined.
The phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PI3-kinase) and the mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) are two major signaling molecules involved in growth and activation of mast cells (MC) and basophils (BA). We examined the effects of the dual PI3-kinase/mTOR blocker NVP-BEZ235 on growth of normal and neoplastic BA and MC as well as immunoglobulin E (IgE)-dependent cell activation. Growth of MC and BA were determined by measuring (3)H-thymidine uptake and apoptosis. Cell activation was determined in histamine release experiments and by measuring upregulation of CD63 and CD203c after challenging with IgE plus anti-IgE or allergen. We found that NVP-BEZ235 exerts profound inhibitory effects on growth of primary and cloned neoplastic MC. In the MC leukemia cell line HMC-1, NVP-BEZ235 showed similar IC(50) values in the HMC-1.1 subclone lacking KIT D816V (0.025 µM) and the HMC-1.2 subclone expressing KIT D816V (0.005 µM). Moreover, NVP-BEZ235 was found to exert strong growth-inhibitory effects on neoplastic MC in a xenotransplant-mouse model employing NMR1-Foxn1(nu) mice. NVP-BEZ235 also exerted inhibitory effects on cytokine-dependent differentiation of normal BA and MC, but did not induce growth inhibition or apoptosis in mature MC or normal bone marrow cells. Finally, NVP-BEZ235 was found to inhibit IgE-dependent histamine release in BA and MC (IC(50) 0.5-1 µM) as well as anti-IgE-induced upregulation of CD203c in BA and IgE-dependent upregulation of CD63 in MC. In summary, NVP-BEZ235 produces growth-inhibitory effects in immature neoplastic MC and inhibits IgE-dependent activation of mature BA and MC. Whether these potentially beneficial drug effects have clinical implications is currently under investigation.
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