Resistance to standard chemotherapy agents remains a major obstacle for improving treatment outcomes for acute myeloid leukemia (AML). The Bcl-2-selective inhibitor ABT-199 has demonstrated encouraging preclinical results, drug resistance remains a concern. Mcl-1 has been demonstrated to contribute to ABT-199 resistance, thus combining with therapies that target Mcl-1 could overcome such resistance. In this study, we utilized a CHK1 inhibitor, LY2603618, to decrease Mcl-1 and enhance ABT-199 efficacy. We found that LY2603618 treatment resulted in abolishment of the G2/M cell cycle checkpoint and increased DNA damage, which was partially dependent on CDK activity. LY2603618 treatment resulted in decrease of Mcl-1, which coincided with the initiation of apoptosis. Overexpression of Mcl-1 in AML cells significantly attenuated apoptosis induced by LY2603618, confirming the critical role of Mcl-1 in apoptosis induced by the agent. Simultaneous treatment with LY2603618 and ABT-199 resulted in synergistic induction of apoptosis in both AML cell lines and primary patient samples. Our findings provide new insights into overcoming a mechanism of intrinsic ABT-199 resistance in AML cells and support the clinical development of combined ABT-199 and CHK1 inhibition.
Zhao, J., Niu, X., Li, X., Edwards, H., Wang, G., Wang, Y., … Ge, Y. (2016). Inhibition of CHK1 enhances cell death induced by the Bcl-2-selective inhibitor ABT-199 in acute myeloid leukemia cells. Oncotarget, 7(23), 34785–34799. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.9185