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Blood. 2012 May 3;119(18):4228-41. doi: 10.1182/blood-2011-07-368316. Epub 2012 Mar 20.

Cotargeting signaling pathways driving survival and cell cycle circumvents resistance to Kit inhibitors in leukemia.

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INSERM U830, Institut Curie, 26 rue d'Ulm, Paris, France.


Oncogenic mutations leading to persistent kinase activities are associated with malignancies. Therefore, deciphering the signaling networks downstream of these oncogenic stimuli remains a challenge to gather insights into targeted therapy. To elucidate the biochemical networks connecting the Kit mutant to leukemogenesis, in the present study, we performed a global profiling of tyrosine-phosphorylated proteins from mutant Kit-driven murine leukemia proerythroblasts and identified Shp2 and Stat5 as proximal effectors of Kit. Shp2 or Stat5 gene depletion by sh-RNA, combined with pharmacologic inhibition of PI3kinase or Mek/Erk activities, revealed 2 distinct and independent signaling pathways contributing to malignancy. We demonstrate that cell survival is driven by the Kit/Shp2/Ras/Mek/Erk1/2 pathway, whereas the G(1)/S transition during the cell cycle is accelerated by both the Kit/Stat5 and Kit/PI3K/Akt pathways. The combined use of the clinically relevant drugs NVP-BEZ235, which targets the cell cycle, and Obatoclax, which targets survival, demonstrated synergistic effects to inhibit leukemia cell growth. This synergy was confirmed with a human mast leukemia cell line (HMC-1.2) that expresses mutant Kit. The results of the present study using liquid chromatography/tandem mass spectrometry analysis have elucidated signaling networks downstream of an oncogenic kinase, providing a molecular rationale for pathway-targeted therapy to treat cancer cells refractory to tyrosine kinase inhibitors.

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