Purpose: Although the overall cure rate for pediatric acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) approaches 90%, infants with ALL harboring translocations in the mixed-lineage leukemia (MLL) oncogene (infant MLL-ALL) experience shorter remission duration and lower survival rates (∼50%). Mutations in the p53 tumor-suppressor gene are uncommon in infant MLL-ALL, and drugs that release p53 from inhibitory mechanisms may be beneficial. The purpose of this study was to assess the efficacy of the orally available nutlin, RG7112, against patient-derived MLL-ALL xenografts. Experimental Design: Eight MLL-ALL patient-derived xenografts were established in immune-deficient mice, and their molecular features compared with B-lineage ALL and T-ALL xenografts. The sensitivity of MLL-ALL xenografts to RG7112 was assessed in vitro and in vivo, and the ability of RG7112 to induce p53, cell-cycle arrest, and apoptosis in vivo was evaluated. Results: Gene-expression analysis revealed that MLL-ALL, B-lineage ALL, and T-ALL xenografts clustered according to subtype. Moreover, genes previously reported to be overexpressed in MLL-ALL, including MEIS1, CCNA1, and members of the HOXA family, were significantly upregulated in MLL-ALL xenografts, confirming their ability to recapitulate the clinical disease. Exposure of MLL-ALL xenografts to RG7112 in vivo caused p53 upregulation, cell-cycle arrest, and apoptosis. RG7112 as a single agent induced significant regressions in infant MLL-ALL xenografts. Therapeutic enhancement was observed when RG7112 was assessed using combination treatment with an induction-type regimen (vincristine/dexamethasone/L-asparaginase) against an MLL-ALL xenograft. Conclusions: The utility of targeting the p53-MDM2 axis in combination with established drugs for the management of infant MLL-ALL warrants further investigation.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research