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Blood. 2009 May 28;113(22):5549-57. doi: 10.1182/blood-2008-06-165068. Epub 2009 Mar 24.

Isoform-selective phosphoinositide 3'-kinase inhibitors inhibit CXCR4 signaling and overcome stromal cell-mediated drug resistance in chronic lymphocytic leukemia: a novel therapeutic approach.

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Department of Leukemia, University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX 77230-1402, USA.


Phosphoinositide 3-kinases (PI3Ks) are among the most frequently activated signaling pathways in cancer. In chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL), signals from the microenvironment are critical for expansion of the malignant B cells, and cause constitutive activation of PI3Ks. CXCR4 is a key receptor for CLL cell migration and adhesion to marrow stromal cells (MSCs). Because of the importance of CXCR4 and PI3Ks for CLL-microenvironment cross-talk, we investigated the activity of novel, isoform-selective PI3K inhibitors that target different isoforms of the p110-kDa subunit. Inhibition with p110alpha inhibitors (PIK-90 and PI-103) resulted in a significant reduction of chemotaxis and actin polymerization to CXCL12 and reduced migration beneath MSC (pseudoemperipolesis). Western blot and reverse phase protein array analyses consistently demonstrated that PIK-90 and PI-103 inhibited phosphorylation of Akt and S6, whereas p110delta or p110beta/p110delta inhibitors were less effective. In suspension and MSC cocultures, PI-103 and PIK-90 were potent inducers of CLL cell apoptosis. Moreover, these p110alpha inhibitors enhanced the cytotoxicity of fludarabine and reversed the protective effect of MSC on fludarabine-induced apoptosis. Collectively, our data demonstrate that p110alpha inhibitors antagonize stromal cell-derived migration, survival, and drug-resistance signals and therefore provide a rational to explore the therapeutic activity of these promising agents in CLL.

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