Phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase inhibition potentiates glucocorticoid response in B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia

Cecilia Evangelisti, Alessandra Cappellini, Mariana Oliveira, Rita Fragoso, João T. Barata, Alice Bertaina, Franco Locatelli, Carolina Simioni, Luca M. Neri, Francesca Chiarini, Annalisa Lonetti, Francesca Buontempo, Ester Orsini, Andrea Pession, Lucia Manzoli, Alberto Maria Martelli, Camilla Evangelisti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Despite remarkable progress in polychemotherapy protocols, pediatric B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (B-ALL) remains fatal in around 20% of cases. Hence, novel targeted therapies are needed for patients with poor prognosis. Glucocorticoids (GCs) are drugs commonly administrated for B-ALL treatment. Activation of the phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K)/Akt/mammalian target of rapamycin signaling pathway is frequently observed in B-ALL and contributes to GC-resistance. Here, we analyzed for the first time to our knowledge, the therapeutic potential of pan and isoform-selective PI3K p110 inhibitors, alone or combined with dexamethasone (DEX), in B-ALL leukemia cell lines and patient samples. We found that a pan PI3K p110 inhibitor displayed the most powerful cytotoxic effects in B-ALL cells, by inducing cell cycle arrest and apoptosis. Both a pan PI3K p110 inhibitor and a dual γ/δ PI3K p110 inhibitor sensitized B-ALL cells to DEX by restoring nuclear translocation of the GC receptor and counteracted stroma-induced DEX-resistance. Finally, gene expression analysis documented that, on one hand the combination consisting of a pan PI3K p110 inhibitor and DEX strengthened the DEX-induced up- or down-regulation of several genes involved in apoptosis, while on the other, it rescued the effects of genes that might be involved in GC-resistance. Overall, our findings strongly suggest that PI3K p110 inhibition could be a promising strategy for treating B-ALL patients by improving GC therapeutic effects and/or overcoming GC-resistance.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1796-1811
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Cellular Physiology
Volume233
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Aug 4 2017

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Keywords

  • ALL
  • dexamethasone
  • PI3K inhibitors
  • targeted therapy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Cell Biology

Cite this

Evangelisti, C., Cappellini, A., Oliveira, M., Fragoso, R., Barata, J. T., Bertaina, A., Locatelli, F., Simioni, C., Neri, L. M., Chiarini, F., Lonetti, A., Buontempo, F., Orsini, E., Pession, A., Manzoli, L., Martelli, A. M., & Evangelisti, C. (2017). Phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase inhibition potentiates glucocorticoid response in B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia. Journal of Cellular Physiology, 233(3), 1796-1811. https://doi.org/10.1002/jcp.26135