CXCR4 Inhibition Enhances Efficacy of FLT3 Inhibitors in FLT3-Mutated AML Augmented by Suppressed TGF-β Signaling
Kim, B. R., Jung, S. H., Han, A., Park, G., Kim, H. J., Yuan, B., ... & Cho, B. S. (2020). CXCR4 Inhibition Enhances Efficacy of FLT3 Inhibitors in FLT3-Mutated AML Augmented by Suppressed TGF-b Signaling. Cancers, 12(7), 1737.
Given the proven importance of the CXCL12/CXCR4 axis in the stroma-acute myeloid leukemia (AML) interactions and the rapid emergence of resistance to FLT3 inhibitors, we investigated the efficacy and safety of a novel CXCR4 inhibitor, LY2510924, in combination with FLT3 inhibitors in preclinical models of AML with FLT3-ITD mutations (FLT3-ITD-AML). Quizartinib, a potent FLT3 inhibitor, induced apoptosis in FLT3-ITD-AML, while LY2510924 blocked surface CXCR4 without inducing apoptosis. LY2510924 significantly reversed stroma-mediated resistance against quizartinib mainly through the MAPK pathway. In mice with established FLT3-ITD-AML, LY2510924 induced durable mobilization and differentiation of leukemia cells, resulting in enhanced anti-leukemia effects when combined with quizartinib, whereas transient effects were seen on non-leukemic blood cells in immune-competent mice. Sequencing of the transcriptome of the leukemic cells surviving in vivo treatment with quizartinib and LY2510924 revealed that genes related to TGF-b signaling may confer resistance against the drug combination. In co-culture experiments of FLT3-ITD-AML and stromal cells, both silencing of TGF-b in stromal cells or TGF-b-receptor kinase inhibitor enhanced apoptosis by combined treatment. Disruption of the CXCL12/CXCR4 axis in FLT3-ITD-AML by LY2510924 and its negligible effects on normal immunocytes could safely enhance the potency of quizartinib, which may be further improved by blockade of TGF-b signaling.