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Targeted oncology therapies have revolutionized cancer treatment over the last decade and have resulted in improved prognosis for many patients. This advance has emanated from elucidation of pathways responsible for tumorigenesis followed by targeting of these pathways by specific molecules. Cardiovascular care has become an increasingly critical aspect of patient care in part because patients live longer, but also due to potential associated toxicities from these therapies. Because of the targeted nature of cancer therapies, cardiac and vascular side effects may additionally provide insights into the basic biology of vascular disease. We herein provide the example of tyrosine kinase inhibitors utilized in chronic myelogenous leukemia to illustrate this medical transformation. We describe the vascular considerations for the clinical care of chronic myelogenous leukemia patients as well as the emerging literature on mechanisms of toxicities of the individual tyrosine kinase inhibitors. We additionally postulate that basic insights into toxicities of novel cancer therapies may serve as a new platform for investigation in vascular biology and a new translational research opportunity in vascular medicine.
The relationship between hematological malignancy and chemotherapy on the prevalence of antibiotic allergy label (AAL) is ill-defined. We performed a multicenter retrospective case-control study comparing AAL rates among cladribine-treated hairy cell leukemia (C-HCL) cases, non-HCL cladribine-treated controls (control-1), and fludarabine-treated controls (control-2). The prevalence of AALs in C-HCL patients was 60%, compared with control-1 (14%, < .01) and control-2 patients (25%, < .01). The predominant phenotype was maculopapular exanthem (92%). The drugs implicated in AAL causality in C-HCL patients included beta-lactams (81%), trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole (58%), and allopurinol (69%). C-HCL patients demonstrate high rates of AAL, potentially due to immune dysregulation, impacting beta-lactam utilization.
Overexpression of myeloid cell leukemia-1 (Mcl-1) in cancers correlates with high tumor grade and poor survival. Additionally, Mcl-1 drives intrinsic and acquired resistance to many cancer therapeutics, including B cell lymphoma 2 family inhibitors, proteasome inhibitors, and antitubulins. Therefore, Mcl-1 inhibition could serve as a strategy to target cancers that require Mcl-1 to evade apoptosis. Herein, we describe the use of structure-based design to discover a novel compound (42) that robustly and specifically inhibits Mcl-1 in cell culture and animal xenograft models. Compound 42 binds to Mcl-1 with picomolar affinity and inhibited growth of Mcl-1-dependent tumor cell lines in the nanomolar range. Compound 42 also inhibited the growth of hematological and triple negative breast cancer xenografts at well-tolerated doses. These findings highlight the use of structure-based design to identify small molecule Mcl-1 inhibitors and support the use of 42 as a potential treatment strategy to block Mcl-1 activity and induce apoptosis in Mcl-1-dependent cancers.
Human pluripotent stem cells (hPSCs) maintain a highly fragmented mitochondrial network, but the mechanisms regulating this phenotype remain unknown. Here, we describe a non-cell death function of the anti-apoptotic protein, MCL-1, in regulating mitochondrial dynamics and promoting pluripotency of stem cells. MCL-1 is induced upon reprogramming, and its inhibition or knockdown induces dramatic changes to the mitochondrial network as well as loss of the key pluripotency transcription factors, NANOG and OCT4. Aside from localizing at the outer mitochondrial membrane like other BCL-2 family members, MCL-1 is unique in that it also resides at the mitochondrial matrix in pluripotent stem cells. Mechanistically, we find MCL-1 to interact with DRP-1 and OPA1, two GTPases responsible for remodeling the mitochondrial network. Depletion of MCL-1 compromised the levels and activity of these key regulators of mitochondrial dynamics. Our findings uncover an unexpected, non-apoptotic function for MCL-1 in the maintenance of mitochondrial structure and stemness.
Copyright © 2018 The Author(s). Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Estrogen receptor-α positive (ERα+) breast cancer accounts for approximately 70-80% of the nearly 25,0000 new cases of breast cancer diagnosed in the US each year. Endocrine-targeted therapies (those that block ERα activity) serve as the first line of treatment in most cases. Despite the proven benefit of endocrine therapies, however, ERα+ breast tumors can develop resistance to endocrine therapy, causing disease progression or relapse, particularly in the metastatic setting. Anti-apoptotic Bcl-2 family proteins enhance breast tumor cell survival, often promoting resistance to targeted therapies, including endocrine therapies. Herein, we investigated whether blockade of anti-apoptotic Bcl-2 family proteins could sensitize luminal breast cancers to anti-estrogen treatment. We used long-term estrogen deprivation (LTED) of human ERα+ breast cancer cell lines, an established model of sustained treatment with and acquired resistance to aromatase inhibitors (AIs), in combination with Bcl-2/Bcl-xL inhibition (ABT-263), finding that ABT-263 induced only limited tumor cell killing in LTED-selected cells in culture and in vivo. Interestingly, expression and activity of the Bcl-2-related factor Mcl-1 was increased in LTED cells. Genetic Mcl-1 ablation induced apoptosis in LTED-selected cells, and potently increased their sensitivity to ABT-263. Increased expression and activity of Mcl-1 was similarly seen in clinical breast tumor specimens treated with AI + the selective estrogen receptor downregulator fulvestrant. Delivery of Mcl-1 siRNA loaded into polymeric nanoparticles (MCL1 si-NPs) decreased Mcl-1 expression in LTED-selected and fulvestrant-treated cells, increasing tumor cell death and blocking tumor cell growth. These findings suggest that Mcl-1 upregulation in response to anti-estrogen treatment enhances tumor cell survival, decreasing response to therapeutic treatments. Therefore, strategies blocking Mcl-1 expression or activity used in combination with endocrine therapies would enhance tumor cell death.
Discovering bioactive metabolites within a metabolome is challenging because there is generally little foreknowledge of metabolite molecular and cell-targeting activities. Here, single-cell response profiles and primary human tissue comprise a response platform used to discover novel microbial metabolites with cell-type-selective effector properties in untargeted metabolomic inventories. Metabolites display diverse effector mechanisms, including targeting protein synthesis, cell cycle status, DNA damage repair, necrosis, apoptosis, or phosphoprotein signaling. Arrayed metabolites are tested against acute myeloid leukemia patient bone marrow and molecules that specifically targeted blast cells or nonleukemic immune cell subsets within the same tissue biopsy are revealed. Cell-targeting polyketides are identified in extracts from biosynthetically prolific bacteria, including a previously unreported leukemia blast-targeting anthracycline and a polyene macrolactam that alternates between targeting blasts or nonmalignant cells by way of light-triggered photochemical isomerization. High-resolution cell profiling with mass cytometry confirms response mechanisms and is used to validate initial observations.
Cardiovascular (CV) health has emerged as an important consideration in patients with chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) because of improved prognosis. Indeed, the success of BCR-ABL1 tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs) has increased the focus on survivorship and late toxicity in oncological care. Survivorship issues in this population include CV disease prevention, given its prevalence in the general population. The introduction of BCR-ABL1 TKIs represented a unique concept of indefinite cancer therapy, only recently evolving to include "treatment-free remission." Importantly, later-generation BCR-ABL1 TKIs have been associated with CV complications. Dasatinib has been associated with pleural/pericardial effusions and pulmonary hypertension, whereas nilotinib and ponatinib have been linked to the development of vascular occlusive events. There is currently a dearth of data with respect to the mechanisms of drug toxicities, the subsets of patients at risk, and prevention and treatment strategies to mitigate CV complications in patients with CML. Nevertheless, optimal patient CV risk assessment needs to become a more central tenet of patient care in CML. We propose several practical considerations for the practicing oncologist relative to the CV health of patients with CML, especially those on chronic TKI therapy.
© 2016 by The American Society of Hematology. All rights reserved.
Most patients with advanced triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) develop drug resistance. MYC and MCL1 are frequently co-amplified in drug-resistant TNBC after neoadjuvant chemotherapy. Herein, we demonstrate that MYC and MCL1 cooperate in the maintenance of chemotherapy-resistant cancer stem cells (CSCs) in TNBC. MYC and MCL1 increased mitochondrial oxidative phosphorylation (mtOXPHOS) and the generation of reactive oxygen species (ROS), processes involved in maintenance of CSCs. A mutant of MCL1 that cannot localize in mitochondria reduced mtOXPHOS, ROS levels, and drug-resistant CSCs without affecting the anti-apoptotic function of MCL1. Increased levels of ROS, a by-product of activated mtOXPHOS, led to the accumulation of HIF-1α. Pharmacological inhibition of HIF-1α attenuated CSC enrichment and tumor initiation in vivo. These data suggest that (1) MYC and MCL1 confer resistance to chemotherapy by expanding CSCs via mtOXPHOS and (2) targeting mitochondrial respiration and HIF-1α may reverse chemotherapy resistance in TNBC.
Copyright © 2017. Published by Elsevier Inc.
An estimated 40,000 deaths will be attributed to breast cancer in 2016, underscoring the need for improved therapies. Evading cell death is a major hallmark of cancer, driving tumor progression and therapeutic resistance. To evade apoptosis, cancers use antiapoptotic Bcl-2 proteins to bind to and neutralize apoptotic activators, such as Bim. Investigation of antiapoptotic Bcl-2 family members in clinical breast cancer datasets revealed greater expression and more frequent gene amplification of as compared with or (Bcl-xL) across three major molecular breast cancer subtypes, Luminal (A and B), HER2-enriched, and Basal-like. While Mcl-1 protein expression was elevated in estrogen receptor α (ERα)-positive and ERα-negative tumors as compared with normal breast, Mcl-1 staining was higher in ERα tumors. Targeted Mcl-1 blockade using RNAi increased caspase-mediated cell death in ERα breast cancer cells, resulting in sustained growth inhibition. In contrast, combined blockade of Bcl-2 and Bcl-xL only transiently induced apoptosis, as cells rapidly acclimated through Mcl-1 upregulation and enhanced Mcl-1 activity, as measured using Mcl-1/Bim proximity ligation assays. Importantly, gene expression levels correlated inversely with sensitivity to pharmacologic Bcl-2/Bcl-xL inhibition in luminal breast cancer cells, whereas no relationship was seen between the gene expression of or and sensitivity to Bcl-2/Bcl-xL inhibition. These results demonstrate that breast cancers rapidly deploy Mcl-1 to promote cell survival, particularly when challenged with blockade of other Bcl-2 family members, warranting the continued development of Mcl-1-selective inhibitors for targeted tumor cell killing. Mcl-1 levels predict breast cancer response to inhibitors targeting other Bcl-2 family members, and demonstrate the key role played by Mcl-1 in resistance to this drug class. .
©2016 American Association for Cancer Research.