Synergistic Cytotoxic Activity of Recombinant TRAIL Plus the Non-Genotoxic Activator of the p53 Pathway Nutlin-3 in Acute Myeloid Leukemia Cells

Author(s): Paola Secchiero, Carlotta Zerbinati, Maria Grazia di Iasio, Elisabetta Melloni, Mario Tiribelli, Vittorio Grill, Giorgio Zauli.

Journal Name: Current Drug Metabolism

Volume 8 , Issue 4 , 2007

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Abstract:

To potentiate the response of acute myeloid leukemia (AML) to TRAIL cytotoxicity, we have adopted a strategy of combining nutlin-3, a potent non-genotoxic activator of the p53 pathway, with recombinant TRAIL. The rationale for using such a combination was that deletions and/or mutations of the p53 gene occur in only 5-10% of AML and that TRAIL and nutlin-3 activate the extrinsic and intrinsic pathways of apoptosis, respectively. TRAIL induced a rapid increase of apoptosis when added to OCI M4-type and MOLM M5- type AML cells, carrying a wild-type p53, as well as to NB4 M3-type AML, carrying a mutated p53. On the other hand, the small molecule activator of the p53 pathway nutlin-3 induced p53 accumulation, cell cycle arrest and a slow progressive increase of apoptosis in OCI and MOLM but not in NB4. Of note, nutlin-3 up-regulated the surface expression of TRAIL-R2 and synergized with TRAIL in inducing apoptosis in OCI and MOLM as well as in primary M4-type and M5-type AML blasts, but not in NB4 cells. Moreover, while nutlin- 3 up-regulated the expression of cyclin dependent kinase inhibitor p21, a p53-target gene mediating cell cycle block and showing antiapoptotic activity, the simultaneous addition of TRAIL plus nutlin-3 induced the caspase-dependent cleavage of p21. The relevance of p21 down-regulation for sensitizing AML cells to apoptosis was underscored in knocking-down experiments with small interfering RNAs. Our data suggest that the combined treatment of nutlin-3 plus TRAIL might offer a novel therapeutic strategy for AML.

Keywords: TRAIL, AML, nutlin-3, apoptosis, p53-pathway

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Article Details

VOLUME: 8
ISSUE: 4
Year: 2007
Page: [395 - 403]
Pages: 9
DOI: 10.2174/138920007780655432
Price: $58

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