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Blood. 2005 Mar 1;105(5):2099-106. Epub 2004 Sep 23.

Adaphostin-induced apoptosis in CLL B cells is associated with induction of oxidative stress and exhibits synergy with fludarabine.

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  • 1Department of Medicine, Division of Hematology, Mayo Clinic, 200 First St, SW, Rochester, MN 55905, USA.


B-cell chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) is characterized by accumulation of clonal lymphocytes resistant to apoptosis. We evaluated the ability of the investigational antileukemic agent adaphostin to induce apoptosis in CLL B cells and synergize with fludarabine in vitro. Analysis by annexin V/propidium iodide (PI) staining revealed that the concentration of adaphostin required to induce 50% cell death (IC50) at 24 hours was 4.2 microM (range, 1.10-11.25 microM; median, 4.25 microM; n=29) for CLL isolates and more than 10 microM for B and T cells from healthy donors. Immunoblots demonstrated adaphostin induced poly(adenosine diphosphate-ribose) polymerase (PARP) cleavage and cleavage of caspase-3 substrates, suggesting that adaphostin induces apoptosis. Adaphostin increased the level of reactive oxygen species (ROS) within CLL B cells, and the antioxidant N-acetylcysteine blocked both adaphostin-induced ROS generation and apoptosis. Adaphostin also caused a decrease in the level of the antiapoptotic protein Bcl-2. When adaphostin was combined with fludarabine (F-ARA-AMP), a synergistic effect on cell death was observed in all 10 CLL samples. These findings not only indicate that adaphostin induces apoptosis selectively in CLL B cells through a mechanism that involves ROS generation but also demonstrate its ability to augment the effects of fludarabine. Further preclinical development of adaphostin as a novel agent for the treatment of CLL appears warranted.

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