Monday, December 3, 2012

Autophagy is a critical mechanism for the induction of the antileukemic effects of arsenic trioxide.

J Biol Chem. 2010 Sep 24;285(39):29989-97. 
Goussetis DJ, Altman JK, Glaser H, McNeer JL, Tallman MS, Platanias LC. 
Division of Hematology/Oncology, Robert H Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center, Northwestern University Medical School and Jesse Brown Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Chicago, Illinois 60611, USA. 
Abstract - Arsenic trioxide (As(2)O(3)) exhibits potent antitumor effects in vitro and in vivo, but the precise mechanisms by which it generates such responses are not well understood. We provide evidence that As(2)O(3) is a potent inducer of autophagy in leukemia cells. Such induction of autophagy by As(2)O(3) appears to require activation of the MEK/ERK pathway but not the AKT/mammalian target of rapamycin or JNK pathways. In efforts to understand the functional relevance of arsenic-induced autophagy, we found that pharmacological inhibitors of autophagy or molecular targeting of beclin 1 or Atg7 results in reversal of the suppressive effects of As(2)O(3) on leukemic cell lines and primary leukemic progenitors from acute myelogenous leukemia patients. Altogether, our data provide direct evidence that autophagic cell death is critical for the generation of the effects of As(2)O(3) on acute myelogenous leukemia cells and raise the potential of modulation of elements of the autophagic machinery as an approach to enhance the antitumor properties of As(2)O(3) and possibly other heavy metal derivatives.

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