Background and Objectives. The tumor necrosis factor-related apoptosis-inducing ligand (TRAIL) is regarded as a potential anticancer agent. However, many cancer cells are resistant to apoptosis induction by TRAIL. The present study was designed to evaluate the sensitivity to TRAIL-induced apoptosis in acute myeloblastic leukemias (AML). Design and Methods. TRAIL/TRAIL receptor (TRAIL-R) expression and sensitivity to TRAIL-mediated apoptosis were explored in 79 AML patients, including 17 patients with acute promyelocytic leukemia (APL). Results. In non-APL AML we observed frequent expression of TRAIL decoy receptors (TRAIL-R3 and TRAIL-R4), while TRAIL-R1 and TRAIL-R2 expression was restricted to AML exhibiting monocytic features. Total leukemic blasts, as well as AML colony-forming units (AML-CFU), were invariably resistant to TRAIL-mediated apoptosis. APL express membranebound TRAIL on their surface and exhibit a pattern of TRAIL-R expression similar to that observed in the other types of AML. Before, during and after retinoic acid treatment APL cells are TRAIL-resistant. The induction of granulocytic maturation of APL cells by retinoic acid was associated with a marked decline of TRAIL expression. Interpretation and Conclusions. The analysis of experimental APL models (i.e., U937 cells engineered to express PML/RAR-α and NB4 cells) provided evidence that PML/RAR-α expression was associated with downmodulation of TRAIL-R1 and with resistance to TRAIL-mediated apoptosis. We suggest that AML blasts, including APL blasts, are resistant to TRAIL-mediated apoptosis, a phenomenon seemingly related to the expression of TRAIL decoy receptors on these cells. Finally, APL blasts express membrane-bound TRAIL that could confer an immunologic privilege to these cells.
|Number of pages||13|
|Publication status||Published - May 2005|
- Acute promyelocytic leukemia
- TRAIL receptors
ASJC Scopus subject areas