The insulin-like growth factor-I receptor kinase inhibitor NVP-AEW541 induces apoptosis in acute myeloid leukemia cells exhibiting autocrine insulin-like growth factor-I secretion

P L Tazzari, G Tabellini, R Bortul, V Papa, C Evangelisti, T Grafone, G Martinelli, J A McCubrey, A M Martelli
Leukemia 2007, 21 (5): 886-96
Insulin-like growth factor-I (IGF-I) and its receptor (IGF-IR) have been implicated in the pathophysiology of many human cancers, including those of hematopoietic lineage. We investigated the therapeutic potential of the novel IGF-IR tyrosine kinase activity inhibitor, NVP-AEW541, on human acute myeloid leukemia (AML) cells. NVP-AEW541 was tested on a HL60 cell subclone, which is dependent on autocrine secretion of IGF-I for survival and drug resistance, as well as primary drug resistant leukemia cells. NVP-AEW541 treatment (24 h) induced dephosphorylation of IGF-IR. NVP-AEW541 also caused Akt dephosphorylation and changes in the expression of key regulatory proteins of the cell cycle. At longer incubation times (48 h), NVP-AEW541-induced apoptotic cell death, as demonstrated by caspase-3 cleavage. Apoptosis was accompanied by decreased expression of anti-apoptotic proteins. NVP-AEW541 enhanced sensitivity of HL60 cells to either cytarabine or etoposide. Moreover, NVP-AEW541 reduced the clonogenic capacity of AML CD34(+) cells cultured in the presence of IGF-I. Chemoresistant AML blasts displayed enhanced IGF-I secretion, and were sensitized to etoposide-induced apoptosis by NVP-AEW541. Our findings indicate that NVP-AEW541 might be a promising therapeutic agent for the treatment of those AML cases characterized by IGF-I autocrine secretion.

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