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Mol Cancer Ther. 2007 Dec;6(12 Pt 1):3081-90. Epub 2007 Dec 7.

Inhibition of Src family kinases enhances retinoic acid induced gene expression and myeloid differentiation.

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Department of Medicine, University of Pittsburgh and the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15213-1863, USA.


Treatment of acute promyelocytic leukemia with retinoic acid (RA) results in differentiation of the leukemic cells and clinical remission. However, the cellular factors that regulate RA-induced myeloid differentiation are largely unknown, and other forms of acute myelogenous leukemia (AML) do not respond to this differentiation therapy. A greater understanding of the molecules that positively or negatively regulate RA-induced differentiation should facilitate the development of more effective differentiation therapies. In this study, we investigated the potential role of Src family kinases (SFK) in the regulation of RA-induced gene expression and myeloid differentiation. We report that inhibition of SFKs markedly enhanced RA-induced differentiation in myeloid cell lines and primary AML cells, as assessed by flow-cytometric analysis of cell surface markers, morphologic analysis, and nitroblue tetrazolium reduction. In addition, inhibition of SFKs enhanced expression from retinoic acid receptor (RAR) target genes encoding CCAAT/enhancer binding protein epsilon (C/EBPepsilon), PU.1, intercellular adhesion molecule-1 (ICAM-1), and cathepsin D. Moreover, a constitutively active Src inhibited RAR-dependent transcription, whereas a kinase-dead Src exerted little effect. These studies provide the first demonstration that SFKs act to negatively regulate RA-induced gene expression and myeloid differentiation and suggest that the combination of SFK inhibition and RA treatment may be therapeutically beneficial in AML.

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