Indexed on: 26 Nov '18Published on: 26 Nov '18Published in: Translational Oncology
FLT3-ITD and FLT3-TKD are the most frequent tyrosine kinase mutations in acute myeloid leukemia (AML), with the former conferring a poor prognosis. We have recently revealed that FLT3-ITD confers resistance to the PI3K/AKT pathway inhibitors by protecting the mTORC1/4EBP1/Mcl-1 pathway through Pim kinases induced by STAT5 activation in AML. The proteasome inhibitor bortezomib has recently been reported as a promising agent for treatment of AML. Here, we show that the proteasome inhibitor bortezomib as well as carfilzomib induces apoptosis through the intrinsic pathway more conspicuously in cells transformed by FLT3-TKD than FLT3-ITD. Mechanistically, bortezomib upregulated the stress-regulated protein REDD1 and induced downregulation of the mTORC1 pathway more distinctively in cells transformed by FLT3-TKD than FLT-ITD, while overexpression of Pim-1 partly prevented this downregulation and apoptosis in FLT3-TKD-transformed cells. Genetic enhancement of the REDD1 induction or pharmacological inhibition of STAT5, Pim kinases, mTORC1, or S6K by specific inhibitors, such as pimozide, AZD1208, PIM447, rapamycin, and PF-4708671, accelerated the downregulation of mTORC1/Mcl-1 pathway to enhance bortezomib-induced apoptosis in FLT3-ITD-expressing cells, including primary AML cells, while overexpression of Mcl-1 prevented induction of apoptosis. Thus, FLT3-ITD confers a resistance to the proteasome inhibitors on AML cells by protecting the mTORC1/Mcl-1 pathway through the STAT5/Pim axis, and inhibition of these signaling events remarkably enhances the therapeutic efficacy. Copyright © 2018 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.