Small molecule inhibitors of microenvironmental wnt/β-catenin signaling enhance the chemosensitivity of acute myeloid leukemia

Paul Takam Kamga, Giada Dal Collo, Adriana Cassaro, Riccardo Bazzoni, Pietro Delfino, Annalisa Adamo, Alice Bonato, Carmine Carbone, Ilaria Tanasi, Massimiliano Bonifacio, Mauro Krampera

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Wnt/β-catenin signaling has been reported in Acute Myeloid leukemia, but little is known about its significance as a prognostic biomarker and drug target. In this study, we first evaluated the correlation between expression levels of Wnt molecules and clinical outcome. Then, we studied—in vitro and in vivo—the anti-leukemic value of combinatorial treatment between Wnt inhibitors and classic anti-leukemia drugs. Higher levels of β-catenin, Ser675-phospho-β-catenin and GSK-3α (total and Ser 9) were found in AML cells from intermediate or poor risk patients; nevertheless, patients presenting high activity of Wnt/β-catenin displayed shorter progression-free survival (PFS) according to univariate analysis. In vitro, many pharmacological inhibitors of Wnt signalling, i.e., LRP6 (Niclosamide), GSK-3 (LiCl, AR-A014418), and TCF/LEF (PNU-74654) but not Porcupine (IWP-2), significantly reduced proliferation and improved the drug sensitivity of AML cells cultured alone or in the presence of bone marrow stromal cells. In vivo, PNU-74654, Niclosamide and LiCl administration significantly reduced the bone marrow leukemic burden acting synergistically with Ara-C, thus improving mouse survival. Overall, our study demonstrates the antileukemic role of Wnt/β-catenin inhibition that may represent a potential new therapeutics strategy in AML.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2696
Pages (from-to)1-16
Number of pages16
JournalCancers
Volume12
Issue number9
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2020

Keywords

  • AML
  • Drug target
  • Microenvironment
  • Wnt

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research

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