Experimental hematology

Dual targeting of the thioredoxin and glutathione antioxidant systems in malignant B cells: a novel synergistic therapeutic approach.

PMID 25448488


B-cell malignancies are a common type of cancer. One approach to cancer therapy is to either increase oxidative stress or inhibit the stress response systems on which cancer cells rely. In this study, we combined nontoxic concentrations of Auranofin (AUR), an inhibitor of the thioredoxin system, with nontoxic concentrations of buthionine-sulfoximine (BSO), a compound that reduces intracellular glutathione levels, and investigated the effect of this drug combination on multiple pathways critical for malignant B-cell survival. Auranofin interacted synergistically with BSO at low concentrations to trigger death in multiple malignant B-cell lines and primary mantle-cell lymphoma cells. Additionally, there was less toxicity toward normal B cells. Low AUR concentrations inhibited thioredoxin reductase (TrxR) activity, an effect significantly increased by BSO cotreatment. Overexpression of TrxR partially reversed AUR+BSO toxicity. Interestingly, the combination of AUR+BSO inhibited nuclear factor κB (NF-κB) signaling. Moreover, synergistic cell death induced by this regimen was attenuated in cells overexpressing NF-κB proteins, arguing for a functional role for NF-κB inhibition in AUR+BSO-mediated cell death. Together, these findings suggest that AUR+BSO synergistically induces malignant B-cell death, a process mediated by dual inhibition of TrxR and NF-κB, and such an approach warrants further investigation in B-cell malignancies.