Combined targeting of STAT3 and STAT5: a novel approach to overcome drug resistance in chronic myeloid leukemia
EHA Learning Center. Gleixner K. Sep 1, 2017; 196252
Topic: 2Aa Chronic myeloid leukemia, BCR-ABL1-positive
Karoline V. Gleixner
Karoline V. Gleixner
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Co-Authors: Mathias Schneeweiss, Gregor Eisenwort, Daniela Berger, Harald Herrmann, Katharina Blatt, Georg Greiner, Konstantin Byrgazov, Gregor Hoermann, Marina Konopleva, Islam Waliul, Abbarna A. Cumaraswamy, Patrick T. Gunning, Hiroshi Maeda, Richard Moriggl, Michael Deininger, Thomas Lion, Michael Andreeff, Peter Valent

Abstract: In chronic myeloid leukemia, resistance against BCR-ABL1 tyrosine kinase inhibitors can develop because of BCR-ABL1 mutations, activation of additional pro-oncogenic pathways, and stem cell resistance. Drug combinations covering a broad range of targets may overcome resistance. CDDO-Me (bardoxolone methyl) is a drug that inhibits the survival of leukemic cells by targeting different pro-survival molecules, including STAT3. We found that CDDO-Me inhibits proliferation and survival of tyrosine kinase inhibitor-resistant BCR-ABL1+ cell lines and primary leukemic cells, including cells harboring BCR-ABL1T315I or T315I+ compound mutations. Furthermore, CDDO-Me was found to block growth and survival of CD34+/CD38− leukemic stem cells (LSC). Moreover, CDDO-Me was found to produce synergistic growth-inhibitory effects when combined with BCR-ABL1 tyrosine kinase inhibitors. These drug-combinations were found to block multiple signaling cascades and molecules, including STAT3 and STAT5. Furthermore, combined targeting of STAT3 and STAT5 by shRNA and STAT5-targeting drugs also resulted in synergistic growth-inhibition, pointing to a new efficient concept of combinatorial STAT3 and STAT5 inhibition. However, CDDO-Me was also found to increase the expression of heme-oxygenase-1, a heat-shock-protein that triggers drug resistance and cell survival. We therefore combined CDDO-Me with the heme-oxygenase-1 inhibitor SMA-ZnPP, which also resulted in synergistic growth-inhibitory effects. Moreover, SMA-ZnPP was found to sensitize BCR-ABL1+ cells against the combination ‘CDDO-Me+ tyrosine kinase inhibitor’. Together, combined targeting of STAT3, STAT5, and heme-oxygenase-1 overcomes resistance in BCR-ABL1+ cells, including stem cells and highly resistant sub-clones expressing BCR-ABL1T315I or T315I-compound mutations. Whether such drug-combinations are effective in tyrosine kinase inhibitor-resistant patients with chronic myeloid leukemia remains to be elucidated.

Article Number: 1519

Doi: 10.3324/haematol.2016.163436

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