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Cell Death Differ. 2005 May;12(5):523-31.

Triterpenoid CDDO-Im downregulates PML/RARalpha expression in acute promyelocytic leukemia cells.

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Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02115, USA.


The triterpenoid 2-cyano-3,12-dioxooleana-1,9-dien-28-oic acid (CDDO) induces differentiation and apoptosis of diverse human tumor cells. In the present study, we examined the effects of the CDDO imidazolide imide (CDDO-Im) on the NB4 acute promyelocytic leukemia (APL) cell line and primary APL cells. The results show that CDDO-Im selectively downregulates expression of the PML/retinoic receptor alpha fusion protein by a caspase-dependent mechanism and sensitizes APL cells to the differentiating effects of all-trans retinoic acid (ATRA). CDDO-Im treatment of APL cells was also associated with disruption of redox balance and activation of the extrinsic apoptotic pathway. In concert with these results, CDDO-Im sensitizes APL cells to arsenic trioxide (ATO)-induced apoptosis. Our findings indicate that CDDO-Im may be effective in the treatment of APL by: (i) downregulation of PML/RARalpha; (ii) enhancement of ATRA-induced differentiation; and (iii) sensitization of ATO-induced APL cell death.

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