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Biochem Pharmacol. 2011 Jan 15;81(2):251-8. doi: 10.1016/j.bcp.2010.09.026. Epub 2010 Oct 8.

The anti-tumoral drug enzastaurin inhibits natural killer cell cytotoxicity via activation of glycogen synthase kinase-3β.

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Institut für Medizinische Virologie, Klinikum der Johann Wolfgang Goethe-Universität, Paul-Ehrlich-Str. 40, 60596 Frankfurt am Main, Germany.


Enzastaurin is a selective protein kinase Cβ inhibitor which is shown to have direct antitumor effect as well as suppress glycogen synthase kinase-3β (GSK-3β) phosphorylation (resulting in its activation) in both tumor tissues and peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC). It is currently used in phase II trials for the treatment of colon cancer, refractory glioblastoma and diffuse large B cell lymphoma. In this study, the direct effect of enzastaurin on effector function of human natural killer (NK) cells was investigated. The results obtained showed that enzastaurin suppressed both natural and antibody-dependent cellular cytotoxicity (ADCC) of NK cells against different tumor targets. This inhibition was associated with a specific down-regulation of surface expression of NK cell activating receptor NKG2D and CD16 involved in natural cytotoxicity and ADCC respectively, as well as the inhibition of perforin release. Analysis of signal transduction revealed that enzastaurin activated GSK-3β by inhibition of GSK-3β phosphorylation. Treatment of NK cells with GSK-3β-specific inhibitor TDZD-8 prevented enzastaurin-induced inhibition of NK cell cytotoxicity. Apart from the known antitumor and antiangiogenic effects, these results demonstrate that enzastaurin suppresses NK cell activity and may therefore interfere with NK cell-mediated tumor control in enzastaurin-treated cancer patients.

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