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Cell Death Differ. 2008 Nov;15(11):1712-22. doi: 10.1038/cdd.2008.107. Epub 2008 Jul 11.

The Bcr-Abl kinase inhibitor INNO-406 induces autophagy and different modes of cell death execution in Bcr-Abl-positive leukemias.

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Department of Pediatrics, Graduate School of Medicine, Kyoto University, Kyoto, Japan.


Bcr-Abl tyrosine kinase (TK) inhibitors are promising therapeutic agents for Bcr-Abl-positive (Bcr-Abl(+)) leukemias. Although they are known to promote caspase-mediated apoptosis, it remains unclear whether caspase-independent cell death-inducing mechanisms are also triggered. Here we demonstrated that INNO-406, a second-generation Bcr-Abl TK inhibitor, induces programmed cell death (PCD) in chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML) cell lines through both caspase-mediated and caspase-independent pathways. The latter pathways include caspase-independent apoptosis (CIA) and necrosis-like cell death (CIND), and the cell lines varied regarding which mechanism was elicited upon INNO-406 treatment. We also observed that the propensity toward CIA or CIND in cells was strongly associated with cellular dependency on apoptosome-mediated caspase activity. Cells that undergo CIND have a high apoptosome activity potential whereas cells that undergo CIA tend to have a lower potential. Moreover, we found that INNO-406 promotes autophagy. When autophagy was inhibited with chloroquine or gene knockdown of beclin1 by shRNA, INNO-406-induced cell death was enhanced, which indicates that the autophagic response of the tumor cells is protective. These findings suggest new insights into the biology and therapy of Bcr-Abl(+) leukemias.

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