Molecular cancer therapeutics

The FLT3 internal tandem duplication mutation is a secondary target of the aurora B kinase inhibitor AZD1152-HQPA in acute myelogenous leukemia cells.

PMID 20159992


Aurora kinases play an essential role in orchestrating chromosome alignment, segregation, and cytokinesis during mitotic progression and both aurora-A and B are frequently overexpressed in a variety of human malignancies. In this study, we report the effects of AZD1152-HQPA, a highly selective inhibitor of aurora-B kinase, in acute myeloid leukemia (AML) cell lines and primary samples. We show that AZD1152-HQPA inhibits the phosphorylation of Histone H3 (pHH3) on serine 10 resulting in polyploid cells, apoptosis, and loss of viability in a panel of AML cell lines. We also show that AZD1152-HQPA sensitivity in our cell lines is irrespective of p53 status and the FLT3-ITD-expressing MOLM-13 and MV4-11 cell lines are particularly sensitive to AZD1152-HQPA. Internal tandem duplications (ITD) within the FLT3 tyrosine kinase receptor are found in approximately 25% of AML patients and are associated with a poor prognosis. Here, we report that AZD1152-HQPA directly targets phosphorylated FLT3 along with inhibiting its downstream target phospho-signal transducer and activator of transcription 5 (STAT5) in the FLT3-ITD cell lines. We show pHH3 expression in primary AML blasts and its inhibition by AZD1152-HQPA at low doses in all of our primary samples tested. AZD1152-HQPA inhibits the clonogenic potential of primary AML samples, with FLT3-ITD samples being the most sensitive (P = 0.029). FLT3-ITD primary samples are also more sensitive to pHH3 inhibition (P = 0.022) and are particularly sensitive to pSTAT5 downregulation after treatment with AZD1152-HQPA compared with FLT3 wild-type samples (P = 0.007). We conclude that mutant FLT3 is a secondary target of AZD1152-HQPA and that FLT3-ITD primary samples are particularly sensitive to the drug.

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AZD1152-HQPA, ≥98% (HPLC)