Chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) treatment with BCR-ABL inhibitors is often hampered by development of drug resistance. In a screen for novel chemotherapeutic drug candidates with genotoxic activity, we identified a bisindolylmaleimide derivative, IX, as a small molecule compound with therapeutic potential against CML including drug-resistant CML. We show that Bisindolylmaleimide IX inhibits DNA topoisomerase, generates DNA breaks, activates the Atm-p53 and Atm-Chk2 pathways, and induces cell cycle arrest and cell death. Interestingly, Bisindolylmaleimide IX is highly effective in targeting cells positive for BCR-ABL. BCR-ABL positive cells display enhanced DNA damage and increased cell cycle arrest in response to Bisindolylmaleimide IX due to decreased expression of topoisomerases. Cells positive for BCR-ABL or drug-resistant T315I BCR-ABL also display increased cytotoxicity since Bisindolylmaleimide IX inhibits B-Raf and the downstream oncogene addiction pathway. Mouse cancer model experiments showed that Bisindolylmaleimide IX, at doses that show little side effect, was effective in treating leukemia-like disorders induced by BCR-ABL or T315I BCR-ABL, and prolonged the lifespan of these model mice. Thus, Bisindolylmaleimide IX presents a novel drug candidate to treat drug-resistant CML via activating BCR-ABL-dependent genotoxic stress response and inhibiting the oncogene addiction pathway activated by BCR-ABL.
- Bisindolylmaleimide IX
- Chronic myeloid leukemia (CML)
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