Investigational new drugs

4-methylumbelliferone and imatinib combination enhances senescence induction in chronic myeloid leukemia cell lines.

PMID 27718039


Chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) is a myeloproliferative syndrome characterized by the presence of the Philadelphia chromosome which encodes a constitutively activated tyrosine kinase (BCR-ABL). The first line treatment for CML consists on BCR-ABL inhibitors such as Imatinib. Nevertheless, such treatment may lead to the selection of resistant cells. Therefore, it is of great value to find molecules that enhance the anti-proliferative effect of first-line drugs. Hyaluronan is the main glycosaminglican of the extracellular matrix which is involved in tumor progression and multidrug resistance. We have previously demonstrated that the inhibition of hyaluronan synthesis by 4-methylumbelliferone (4MU) induces senescence and can revert Vincristine resistance in CML cell lines. However, the effect of 4MU on Imatinib therapy remains unknown. The aim of this work was to determine whether the combination of 4MU with Imatinib is able to modulate the proliferation as well as apoptosis and senescence induction in human CML cell lines. For this purpose the ATCC cell line K562, and its multidrug resistant derivate, Kv562 were used. Cells were exposed to 4MU, Imatinib or a combination of both. We demonstrated that 4MU and Imatinib co-treatment abrogated the proliferation of both cell lines. However, such co-treatment did not increase the levels of apoptosis when compared with the treatment with Imatinib alone. For both cell lines the mechanisms of tumor suppression involved was senescence, since the combination of 4MU and Imatinib arrested the cell cycle and increased senescence associated β-galactosidase activity and senescence associated heterochromatin foci presence when compared to each drug alone. Moreover, 4MU, Imatinib and 4MU + Imatinib decreased pAkt/Akt ratio in both cell lines and reduced the pERK/ERK ratio only in K562 cells. These findings highlight the potential use of 4MU together with Imatinib for CML therapy.

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