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Clin Cancer Res. 2008 Dec 15;14(24):8102-11. doi: 10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-08-1673.

The novel nuclear factor-kappaB inhibitor LC-1 is equipotent in poor prognostic subsets of chronic lymphocytic leukemia and shows strong synergy with fludarabine.

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  • 1Department of Haematology, School of Medicine, Cardiff University, Cardiff, United Kingdom.



We have recently shown that the novel nuclear factor-kappaB (NF-kappaB) inhibitor LC-1 is effective in primary chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) cells. Here we elucidated the mechanism of action of LC-1, evaluated its relative cytotoxicity in prognostic subsets, and investigated its potential synergistic interaction with fludarabine.


Ninety-six fully characterized CLL cases were assessed for in vitro sensitivity to LC-1 and fludarabine. In selected cases, caspase activation, inhibition of Rel A DNA binding, and the transcription of CFLAR, BIRC5, and BCL2 were measured before and after exposure to LC-1. In addition, the efficacy of LC-1 was assessed in the presence of the survival factors CD154 and interleukin-4, and the potential synergistic interaction between LC-1 and fludarabine was evaluated.


Cell death was associated with caspase-3 activation mediated via activation of both caspase-8 and caspase-9. Apoptosis was preceded by a reduction of nuclear Rel A DNA binding and inhibition of CFLAR, BIRC5, and BCL2 transcription. Importantly, LC-1 overcame the cytoprotective effects by interleukin-4 and CD40 ligand and was equipotent in CLL cells derived from good and bad prognostic subsets. LC-1 exhibited strong synergy with fludarabine, and the combination produced a highly significant mean dose reduction index for fludarabine of > 1,000.


In view of imminent first-in-man study of LC-1 in Cardiff, these data show an important mechanistic rationale for the use of LC-1 in this disease. Furthermore, it validates the concept of targeting nuclear factor-kappaB in CLL and identifies the therapeutic potential of LC-1 in combination with fludarabine even in patients with fludarabine resistance.

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