Novel triterpenoid CDDO-Me is a potent inducer of apoptosis and differentiation in acute myelogenous leukemia

Marina Konopleva, Twee Tsao, Peter Ruvolo, Irina Stiouf, Zeev Estrov, Clinton E Leysath, Shourong Zhao, David Harris, Shirong Chang, C Ellen Jackson, Mark Munsell, Nanjoo Suh, Gordon Gribble, Tadashi Honda, W Stratford May, Michael B Sporn, Michael Andreeff
Blood 2002 January 1, 99 (1): 326-35
It has been shown that the novel synthetic triterpenoid CDDO inhibits proliferation and induces differentiation and apoptosis in myeloid leukemia cells. In the current study the effects of the C-28 methyl ester of CDDO, CDDO-Me, were analyzed on cell growth and apoptosis of leukemic cell lines and primary acute myelogenous leukemia (AML). CDDO-Me decreased the viability of leukemic cell lines, including multidrug resistant (MDR)-1-overexpressing, p53(null) HL-60-Dox and of primary AML cells, and it was 3- to 5-fold more active than CDDO. CDDO-Me induced a loss of mitochondrial membrane potential, induction of caspase-3 cleavage, increase in annexin V binding and DNA fragmentation, suggesting the induction of apoptosis. CDDO-Me induced pro-apoptotic Bax protein that preceded caspase activation. Furthermore, CDDO-Me inhibited the activation of ERK1/2, as determined by the inhibition of mitochondrial ERK1/2 phosphorylation, and it blocked Bcl-2 phosphorylation, rendering Bcl-2 less anti-apoptotic. CDDO-Me induced granulo-monocytic differentiation in HL-60 cells and monocytic differentiation in primary cells. Of significance, colony formation of AML progenitors was significantly inhibited in a dose-dependent fashion, whereas normal CD34(+) progenitor cells were less affected. Combinations with ATRA or the RXR-specific ligand LG100268 enhanced the effects of CDDO-Me on cell viability and terminal differentiation of myeloid leukemic cell lines. In conclusion, CDDO-Me is an MDR-1- and a p53-independent compound that exerts strong antiproliferative, apoptotic, and differentiating effects in myeloid leukemic cell lines and in primary AML samples when given in submicromolar concentrations. Differential effects of CDDO-Me on leukemic and normal progenitor cells suggest that CDDO-Me has potential as a novel compound in the treatment of hematologic malignancies.

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