The MDM2 inhibitor Nutlins as an innovative therapeutic tool for the treatment of haematological malignancies

Paola Secchiero, Maria Grazia di Iasio, Arianna Gonelli, Giorgio Zauli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


At variance to solid tumors, which show percentage of p53 deletions and/ or mutations close to 50%, more than 80% of haematological malignancies,express wild-type p53 at diagnosis. Therefore, activation of the p53 pathway by antagonizing its negative regulator murine double minute 2 (MDM2) might offer a new therapeutic strategy for the great majority of haernatological malignancies. Recently, potent and selective small-molecule MDM2 inhibitors, the Nutlins, have been identified. Studies with these compounds have strengthened the concept that selective, non-genotoxic p53 activation might represent an alternative to the current cytotoxic chemotherapy. Interestingly, Nutlins not only are able to induce apoptotic cell death when added to primary leukemic cell cultures, but also show a synergistic effect when used in combination with the chemotherapeutic drugs commonly used for the treatment of haematological malignancies. Of interest, Nutlins also display non-cell autonomous biological activities, such as inhibition of vascular endothelial growth factor, stromal derived factor-1/CXCL12 and ostcprotegerin expression and/or release by primary fibroblasts and endothelial cells. Moreover, Nutlins have a direct anti-angiogenic and anti-osteoclastic activity. Thus, Nutlins, might have therapeutic effects by two distinct mechanisms: a direct cytotoxic effect on leukemic cells and an indirect non-cell autonomous effect on tumor stromal and vascular cells, and this latter effect might be therapeutically relevant also for treatment of haematological malignancies carrying p53 mutations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2100-2110
Number of pages11
JournalCurrent Pharmaceutical Design
Issue number21
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2008


  • Angiogenesis
  • Apoptosis
  • Cell-cycle
  • Chemotherapeutic drugs
  • Haematological malignancies
  • Osteolysis
  • P53 Pathway
  • TRAIL/TRAIL receptor system

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Drug Discovery
  • Pharmacology


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