BCR-ABL mediates arsenic trioxide-induced apoptosis independently of its aberrant kinase activity.Cancer Res 2000; 60(13):3409-13CR
In the prechemotherapy era arsenic derivatives were used for treatment of chronic myelogenous leukemia, a myeloproliferative disorder characterized by the t(9;22) translocation, the Philadelphia chromosome (Ph+). In acute promyelocytic leukemia response to arsenic trioxide (As2O3) has been shown to be genetically determined by the acute promyelocytic leukemia-specific t(15;17) translocation product PML/RARalpha. Hence, we reasoned that As2O3 might have a selective inhibitory effect on proliferation of BCR-ABL-expressing cells. Here, we report that: (a) As2O3 induced apoptosis in Ph+ but not in Ph- lymphoblasts; (b) enforced expression of BCR-ABL in U937 cells dramatically increased the sensitivity to As2O3; (c) the effect of As2O3 was independent of BCR-ABL kinase activity; and (d) As2O3 reduced proliferation of chronic myelogenous leukemia blasts but not of peripheral CD34+ progenitors. In summary, these data establish As2O3 as a tumor cell-specific agent, making its clinical application in Ph+ leukemia feasible.