Session: 604. Molecular Pharmacology and Drug Resistance in Myeloid Diseases: Poster II
Hematology Disease Topics & Pathways:
AML, apoptosis, Diseases, Biological Processes, Myeloid Malignancies
In the present study, we assessed autophagy levels in leukemia cell lines bearing different FLT3 mutations and in AML patient samples obtained from sorafenib-resistant patients. All tested resistant cell lines bearing TKD or ITD+TKD mutations showed increased basal autophagy levels. Resistant AML patient samples also demonstrated greater autophagy compared to matched pre-treatment samples in FLT3-mutated, but not in FLT3-wild type samples. Upregulation of autophagy was also observed in the bone marrow (BM)-mimetic microenvironment (i.e., hypoxia and the presence of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) in vitro. Inhibition of autophagy with chloroquine (CQ) potentiated quizartinib-induced apoptosis and partially abrogated MSC-mediated protection in FLT3-ITD- and/or D835-mutated AML cells by suppressing c-Myc, mTOR/S6K signaling and activating transcription factor 4 (ATF4).
We also observed upregulation of BTK activation accompanied by increased autophagy levels in hypoxic/MSC co-culture with leukemic cells and in resistant primary patient samples. Co-targeting BTK and FLT3 with ibrutinib (or BTK siRNA) and quizartinib enhanced leukemic cell killing and abrogates MSC-mediated protection of FLT3 mutated leukemia cells. We further investigated a novel, highly potent small molecule pan-FLT3/pan-BTK kinase inhibitor CG-806 (IC50s 0.8 and 5.0 nM against FLT3-ITD and BTK, respectively) (Aptose, San Diego, CA). CG’806 abolished MSC/hypoxia-mediated protection of AML cells and induced apoptosis in FLT3-mutated cells in vitro. Of note, CG’806, but not quizartinib, exerted profound pro-apoptotic effects in primary AML patient cells harboring ITD+D835 mutations ex vivo. Further evaluation in a PDX leukemia model inoculated with the ITD+D835 mutated primary AML cells showed that CG’806 significantly reduced leukemia cell burden and benefited for mouse survival.
Taken together, autophagy is associated with AML resistance to FLT3-targeted therapy, which can be overcome by the pan-FLT3/pan-BTK kinase inhibitor CG-806 through concomitant blockade of FLT3 and BTK. Co-targeting FLT3 and BTK might provide a strategy for preventing/overcoming FLT3 inhibitor resistance in AML patients with FLT3 mutations. Phase I trials of CG’806 are in preparation.
Disclosures: Zhang: Aptose Biosciences, Inc: Employment. Battula: United Therapeutics Inc.: Patents & Royalties, Research Funding. Konopleva: Stemline Therapeutics: Research Funding. Rice: Aptose Biosciences, Inc: Equity Ownership. Andreeff: United Therapeutics: Patents & Royalties: GD2 inhibition in breast cancer ; Astra Zeneca: Research Funding; Eutropics: Equity Ownership, Membership on an entity's Board of Directors or advisory committees; Reata: Equity Ownership; SentiBio: Equity Ownership; Oncolyze: Equity Ownership; Jazz Pharma: Consultancy; Oncoceutics: Equity Ownership, Membership on an entity's Board of Directors or advisory committees; Daiichi-Sankyo: Consultancy, Patents & Royalties: MDM2 inhibitor activity patent, Research Funding; Aptose: Equity Ownership, Membership on an entity's Board of Directors or advisory committees; Amgen: Consultancy, Research Funding; Celgene: Consultancy.
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