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Blood. 2007 Jul 1;110(1):267-77. Epub 2007 Mar 13.

NPI-0052, a novel proteasome inhibitor, induces caspase-8 and ROS-dependent apoptosis alone and in combination with HDAC inhibitors in leukemia cells.

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Department of Pediatrics Research, University of Texas, M. D. Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX 77030, USA.


The proteasome has been successfully targeted for the treatment of multiple myeloma and mantle cell lymphoma; however, in other hematologic malignancies, bortezomib has been less effective as a single agent. Here, we describe effects of NPI-0052, a novel proteasome inhibitor, in leukemia model systems. In cell lines, NPI-0052 inhibits all 3 proteolytic activities associated with the proteasome: chymotrypsin-, trypsin-, and caspase-like. NPI-0052 also induces DNA fragmentation in leukemia lines and in mononuclear cells from a Ph + acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) patient. Caspase-3 activation by NPI-0052 was seen in wild-type Jurkat cells, but was significantly lessened in Fas-associated death domain (FADD)-deficient or caspase-8-deficient counterparts. NPI-0052-induced apoptosis was further probed using caspase-8 inhibitors, which were more protective than caspase-9 inhibitors. N-acetyl cysteine (NAC) also conferred protection against NPI-0052-induced apoptosis, indicating a role for oxidative stress by NPI-0052. In support of the drug's in vitro activities, biweekly treatment with NPI-0052 lessened total white blood cell (WBC) burden over 35 days in leukemic mice. Interestingly, combining NPI-0052 with either MS-275 or valproic acid (VPA) induced greater levels of cell death than the combination of bortezomib with these histone deacetylase inhibitors (HDACi). These effects of NPI-0052, alone and in combination with HDACi, warrant further testing to determine the compound's clinical efficacy in leukemia.

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