Annals of hematology

Targeting connective tissue growth factor (CTGF) in acute lymphoblastic leukemia preclinical models: anti-CTGF monoclonal antibody attenuates leukemia growth.

PMID 24154679


Connective tissue growth factor (CTGF/CCN2) is involved in extracellular matrix production, tumor cell proliferation, adhesion, migration, and metastasis. Recent studies have shown that CTGF expression is elevated in precursor B-acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) and that increased expression of CTGF is associated with inferior outcome in B-ALL. In this study, we characterized the functional role and downstream signaling pathways of CTGF in ALL cells. First, we utilized lentiviral shRNA to knockdown CTGF in RS4;11 and REH ALL cells expressing high levels of CTGF mRNA. Silencing of CTGF resulted in significant suppression of leukemia cell growth compared to control vector, which was associated with AKT/mTOR inactivation and increased levels of cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitor p27. CTGF knockdown sensitized ALL cells to vincristine and methotrexate. Treatment with an anti-CTGF monoclonal antibody, FG-3019, significantly prolonged survival of mice injected with primary xenograft B-ALL cells when co-treated with conventional chemotherapy (vincristine, L-asparaginase and dexamethasone). Data suggest that CTGF represents a targetable molecular aberration in B-ALL, and blocking CTGF signaling in conjunction with administration of chemotherapy may represent a novel therapeutic approach for ALL patients.

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