Sorafenib induces apoptosis of AML cells via Bim-mediated activation of the intrinsic apoptotic pathway

W. Zhang, M. Konopleva, V. R. Ruvolo, T. McQueen, R. L. Evans, W. G. Bornmann, J. McCubrey, J. Cortes, M. Andreeff

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Raf/MEK/Erk signaling is activated in the majority of acute myeloid leukemias (AMLs), providing rationale for targeting this pathway with therapeutic intent. We investigated growth-inhibitory and proapoptotic effects of sorafenib in AML. Our studies demonstrated that sorafenib significantly inhibited the phosphorylation levels of Raf downstream target proteins MEK1/2 and Erk, induced apoptosis and inhibited colony formation in AML cell lines and in primary AML samples. Mechanistically, treatment with sorafenib resulted in upregulation of proapoptotic Bim, accompanied by an increase in Bad, Bax and Bak protein levels and decreased Mcl-1, X-linked inhibitor of apoptosis and surviving levels, which mainly led to the activation of the intrinsic apoptotic pathway. Silencing of Bim protein expression significantly abrogated sorafenib-induced apoptosis, suggesting a critical function of Bim in the activation of the intrinsic mitochondrial pathway induced by sorafenib. Importantly, sorafenib also modulated phospho-Erk, Bim, Bax and Mcl-1 levels in samples procured from patients in an ongoing Phase I clinical trial of sorafenib in AML. Combination of sorafenib with cytarabine or the novel small molecule Bcl-2 inhibitor ABT-737 synergistically induced cell death in AML cell lines. Our results strongly suggest potential activity of sorafenib as a novel mechanism-based therapeutic agent in AML.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)808-818
Number of pages11
JournalLeukemia
Volume22
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 2008
Externally publishedYes

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Myeloid Cells
Acute Myeloid Leukemia
Apoptosis
bcl-2 Homologous Antagonist-Killer Protein
bcl-Associated Death Protein
sorafenib
bcl-2-Associated X Protein
Cell Line
Clinical Trials, Phase I
Cytarabine
Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinase Kinases
Proteins
Cell Death
Up-Regulation
Therapeutics
Phosphorylation
Growth

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hematology
  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research

Cite this

Zhang, W., Konopleva, M., Ruvolo, V. R., McQueen, T., Evans, R. L., Bornmann, W. G., ... Andreeff, M. (2008). Sorafenib induces apoptosis of AML cells via Bim-mediated activation of the intrinsic apoptotic pathway. Leukemia, 22(4), 808-818. https://doi.org/10.1038/sj.leu.2405098

Sorafenib induces apoptosis of AML cells via Bim-mediated activation of the intrinsic apoptotic pathway. / Zhang, W.; Konopleva, M.; Ruvolo, V. R.; McQueen, T.; Evans, R. L.; Bornmann, W. G.; McCubrey, J.; Cortes, J.; Andreeff, M.

In: Leukemia, Vol. 22, No. 4, 04.2008, p. 808-818.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Zhang, W, Konopleva, M, Ruvolo, VR, McQueen, T, Evans, RL, Bornmann, WG, McCubrey, J, Cortes, J & Andreeff, M 2008, 'Sorafenib induces apoptosis of AML cells via Bim-mediated activation of the intrinsic apoptotic pathway', Leukemia, vol. 22, no. 4, pp. 808-818. https://doi.org/10.1038/sj.leu.2405098
Zhang W, Konopleva M, Ruvolo VR, McQueen T, Evans RL, Bornmann WG et al. Sorafenib induces apoptosis of AML cells via Bim-mediated activation of the intrinsic apoptotic pathway. Leukemia. 2008 Apr;22(4):808-818. https://doi.org/10.1038/sj.leu.2405098
Zhang, W. ; Konopleva, M. ; Ruvolo, V. R. ; McQueen, T. ; Evans, R. L. ; Bornmann, W. G. ; McCubrey, J. ; Cortes, J. ; Andreeff, M. / Sorafenib induces apoptosis of AML cells via Bim-mediated activation of the intrinsic apoptotic pathway. In: Leukemia. 2008 ; Vol. 22, No. 4. pp. 808-818.
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