The dual kinase inhibitor NVP-BEZ235 in combination with cytotoxic drugs exerts anti-proliferative activity towards acute lymphoblastic leukemia cells

Catrin Schult, Meike Dahlhaus, Aenne Glass, Kristin Fischer, Sandra Lange, Mathias Freund, Christian Junghanss
Anticancer Research 2012, 32 (2): 463-74

BACKGROUND: Inhibition of signal transduction pathways has been successfully introduced into cancer treatment. The dual phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K) and mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) inhibitor NVP-BEZ235 has antitumor activity in vitro against solid tumors. Here, we examined the activity of NVP-BEZ235 in acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) cells and the best modalities for combination approaches.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: ALL cell lines (SEM, RS4;11, Jurkat and MOLT4) were treated with NVP-BEZ235 alone, or in combination with cytarabine (AraC), doxorubicin (Doxo) or dexamethasone (Dexa).

RESULTS: NVP-BEZ235 potently inhibited the proliferation and metabolic activity of ALL cells. Antiproliferative effects were associated with G(0)/G(1) arrest and reduced levels of cyclin-dependent kinase 4 (CDK4) and cyclin D3. Inhibition of PI3K and mTOR activity was detected at 10 and 100 nM. NVP-BEZ235 combined with AraC, Doxo or Dexa synergistically enhanced the cytotoxicity compared to single-drug treatment, even in glucocorticoid-resistant cells.

CONCLUSION: NVP-BEZ235 displays pronounced antiproliferative effects in ALL cells and might therefore be a useful drug in the treatment of ALL.

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