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Int J Oncol. 2005 Oct;27(4):941-8.

Enhancement of TPA-induced growth inhibition and apoptosis in myeloid leukemia cells by BAY 11-7082, an NF-kappaB inhibitor.

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  • 1Susan Lehman Cullman Laboratory for Cancer Research, Department of Chemical Biology, Ernest Mario School of Pharmacy, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, Piscataway, NJ 08854, USA.


The phorbol ester, 12-O-tetradecanoylphorbol-13-acetate (TPA) is a potent stimulator of differentiation and apoptosis in myeloid leukemia cells. In the present study, we investigated the role of the transcription factor NF-kappaB in TPA-induced growth inhibition and apoptosis in the myeloid leukemia HL-60 cell line and its TPA-resistant cell variant HL-525. Unlike the parental cell line, HL-525 cells are protein kinase C (PKC)-beta deficient and resistant to TPA-induced differentiation and apoptosis. We found that treatment of HL-60 cells with TPA resulted in a concentration-dependent growth inhibition and an increase in apoptotic cells. TPA only had a small effect on growth and apoptosis in HL-525 cells. Treatment of HL-60 cells with TPA (0.64-3.2 nM) caused a rapid activation of NF-kappaB as determined by electrophoresis mobility shift assay (EMSA) and immunocytochemistry. Although the basal level of NF-kappaB activity was low in HL-60 cells, TPA-resistant HL-525 cells had a high basal level of NF-kappaB activity. Treatment of HL-525 cells with higher concentrations of TPA (16-80 nM) resulted in a further increase in NF-kappaB activity. (E)3-[(4-methylphenyl)-sulfonyl]-2-propenenitrile (BAY 11-7082; BAY), which inhibits IkappaB alpha phosphorylation and thus decreases NF-kappaB activation, was found to decrease TPA-induced nuclear translocation of NF-kappaB. Furthermore, BAY enhanced TPA-induced growth inhibition and apoptosis in both HL-60 and HL-525 cells. Results from the present study indicate that inhibition of NF-kappaB by BAY was associated with enhanced TPA-induced growth inhibition and apoptosis in human myeloid leukemia cells. TPA in combination with pharmacological inhibitors of NF-kappaB may improve the therapeutic efficacy of TPA and overcome the resistance to TPA in some myeloid leukemia patients.

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