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Clin Cancer Res. 2001 Feb;7(2):320-30.

Interactions between 2-fluoroadenine 9-beta-D-arabinofuranoside and the kinase inhibitor UCN-01 in human leukemia and lymphoma cells.

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  • 1Department of Medicine, Medical College of Virginia, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond 23298, USA.


Interactions between the purine analogue 2-fluoroadenine 9-beta-D-arabinofuranoside (F-ara-A) and the kinase inhibitor UCN-01 have been examined in human leukemia cells (U937 and HL-60) with respect to induction of mitochondrial damage, caspase activation, apoptosis, and loss of clonogenic survival. Simultaneous or subsequent exposure of F-ara-A-treated cells (2 microM) to UCN-01 (100 nM) resulted in a marked potentiation of apoptosis, manifested by loss of mitochondrial membrane potential (delta psi(m)), cleavage/activation of procaspase-9 and procaspase-3, DNA fragmentation, and degradation of poly-ADP(ribosyl) polymerase. Coadministration of UCN-01 with F-ara-A was also associated with diminished phosphorylation of the cdc25 phosphatase. In contrast, exposure of cells to the sequence UCN-01, followed by F-ara-A, resulted in only a modest increase in apoptotic cells. The ability of UCN-01 to potentiate F-ara-A-mediated lethality was not mimicked by the selective PKC inhibitor bisindolylmaleimide, nor did treatment of cells with UCN-01 enhance formation of F-ara-ATP or increase incorporation of [3H]F-ara-A into DNA. Enhanced apoptosis in cells exposed sequentially or simultaneously to F-ara-A and UCN-01 was accompanied by a substantial reduction in colony formation (e.g., to 0.01% of control values). Cotreatment with UCN-01 also increased F-ara-A-mediated apoptosis and loss of delta psi(m) in U937 cells ectopically expressing Bcl-2, although not to the same extent as that observed in empty-vector controls. Finally, simultaneous exposure (24 h) of malignant B lymphocytes from the pleural effusion of a patient with indolent non-Hodgkin's lymphoma to F-ara-A and UCN-01 ex vivo resulted in a striking increase in apoptosis, as determined by terminal deoxynucleotidyltransferase-mediated nick end labeling assay. These findings indicate that UCN-01 increases F-ara-A-induced mitochondrial damage and apoptosis in human leukemia cells in a sequence-dependent manner, and that these events occur in at least some primary human lymphoma cells.

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