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Blood. 1999 Apr 1;93(7):2386-94.

Sodium salicylate activates caspases and induces apoptosis of myeloid leukemia cell lines.

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Laboratory of Molecular Aspects of Hematopoiesis and Department of Medicine, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York, NY 10021, USA.


Nonsteroidal antiinflammatory agents (NSAIA) have been shown to exert potent chemopreventive activity against colon, lung, and breast cancers. In this study, we show that at pharmacological concentrations (1 to 3 mmol/L) sodium salicylate (Na-Sal) can potently induce programmed cell death in several human myeloid leukemia cell lines, including TF-1, U937, CMK-1, HL-60, and Mo7e. TF-1 cells undergo rapid apoptosis on treatment with Na-Sal, as indicated by increased annexin V binding capacity, cpp-32 (caspase-3) activation, and cleavage of poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase (PARP) and gelsolin. In addition, the expression of MCL-1, an antiapoptotic member of the BCL-2 family, is downregulated during Na-Sal-induced cell death, whereas the expression of BCL-2, BAX, and BCL-XL is unchanged. Z-VAD, a potent caspase inhibitor, prevents the cleavage of PARP and gelsolin and rescues cells from Na-Sal-induced apoptosis. In addition, we show that Na-Sal accelerates growth factor withdrawal-induced apoptosis and synergizes with daunorubicin to induce apoptosis in TF-1 cells. Thus, our data provide a potential mechanism for the chemopreventive activity of NSAIA and suggest that salicylates may have therapeutic potential for the treatment of human leukemia.

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