Purpose: New therapies are urgently needed for patients with acute myelogenous leukemia (AML). The novel NEDDylation inhibitor MLN4924 (pevonedistat) has demonstrated significant preclinical antileukemic activity and preliminary efficacy in patients with AML in a phase I trial. On the basis of its antimyeloid and DNA-damaging properties, we investigated the ability of MLN4924 to augment conventional cytarabine (ara-C) therapy. Experimental Design: The effects of MLN4924/ara-C on viability, clonogenic survival, apoptosis, DNA damage, and relevant pharmacodynamic targets were determined. The efficacy and pharmacodynamics of MLN4924/ara-C were assessed in an AML xenograft model. Results: Cotreatment of AML cell lines and primary patient specimens with MLN4924 and ara-C led to diminished clonogenic survival, increased apoptosis, and synergistic levels of DNA damage. RNAi demonstrated that stabilization of CDT-1, an event previously shown to mediate the DNA-damaging effects of MLN4924, was not a key regulator of sensitivity to the MLN4924/ara-C combination. Global metabolic profiling revealed that MLN4924 disrupts nucleotide metabolism and depletes intracellular nucleotide pools in AML cells. Subsequent experiments showed that MLN4924 promoted increased incorporation of ara-C into the DNA of AML cells. This effect as well as the therapeutic benefit of the MLN4924/ara-C combination was antagonized by supplementation with the nucleotide building block ribose. Coadministration of MLN4924 and ara-C to mice bearing FLT3-ITD+ AML xenografts stably inhibited disease progression and increased DNA damage in vivo. Conclusions: Our findings provide strong rationale for clinical investigation of the MLN4924/ara-C combination and establish a new link between therapeutic inhibition of NEDDylation and alterations in nucleotide metabolism.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research