Inhibition of mitochondrial metabolism by methyl-2-cyano-3,12-dioxooleana-1,9-diene-28-oate induces apoptotic or autophagic cell death in chronic myeloid leukemia cells.

Research paper by Ismael I Samudio, Svitlana S Kurinna, Peter P Ruvolo, Borys B Korchin, Hagop H Kantarjian, Miloslav M Beran, Kenneth K Dunner, Seiji S Kondo, Michael M Andreeff, Marina M Konopleva

Indexed on: 17 May '08Published on: 17 May '08Published in: Molecular cancer therapeutics


The initial success of the first synthetic bcr-abl kinase inhibitor imatinib has been dampened by the emergence of imatinib-resistant disease in blast crisis chronic myeloid leukemia. Here, we report that the novel triterpenoid methyl-2-cyano-3,12-dioxooleana-1,9-diene-28-oate (CDDO-Me) potently induced cytotoxicity in imatinib-resistant KBM5 cells expressing the T315I mutation of bcr-abl (24-h EC50, 540 nmol/L). In long-term culture, CDDO-Me abrogated the growth of human parental KBM5 and KBM5-STI cells with 96-h IC50 of 205 and 221 nmol/L, respectively. In addition, CDDO-Me rapidly decreased the viability of murine lymphoid Ba/F3 cells expressing wild-type p210 as well as the imatinib-resistant E255K and T315I mutations of bcr-abl. The low-dose effects of CDDO-Me are associated with inhibition of mitochondrial oxygen consumption, whereas the cytotoxic effects appear to be mediated by a rapid and selective depletion of mitochondrial glutathione that accompanies the increased generation of reactive oxygen species and mitochondrial dysfunction. Interestingly, the mitochondriotoxic effects of CDDO-Me are followed by the rapid autophagocytosis of intracellular organelles or the externalization of phosphatidylserine in different cell types. We conclude that alterations in mitochondrial function by CDDO-Me can result in autophagy or apoptosis of chronic myeloid leukemia cells regardless of the mutational status of bcr-abl. CDDO-Me is in clinical trials and shows signs of clinical activity, with minimal side effects and complete lack of cardiotoxicity. Studies in leukemias are in preparation.