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Leukemia. 2012 Nov;26(11):2336-42. doi: 10.1038/leu.2012.136. Epub 2012 May 22.

Cytotoxic activity of the novel Akt inhibitor, MK-2206, in T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia.

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Department of Morphology and Embryology, University of Ferrara, Ferrara, Italy.


T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (T-ALL) is an aggressive neoplastic disorder arising from T-cell progenitors. T-ALL accounts for 15% of newly diagnosed ALL cases in children and 25% in adults. Although the prognosis of T-ALL has improved, due to the use of polychemotherapy schemes, the outcome of relapsed/chemoresistant T-ALL cases is still poor. A signaling pathway that is frequently upregulated in T-ALL, is the phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase/Akt/mTOR network. To explore whether Akt could represent a target for therapeutic intervention in T-ALL, we evaluated the effects of the novel allosteric Akt inhibitor, MK-2206, on a panel of human T-ALL cell lines and primary cells from T-ALL patients. MK-2206 decreased T-ALL cell line viability by blocking leukemic cells in the G(0)/G(1) phase of the cell cycle and inducing apoptosis. MK-2206 also induced autophagy, as demonstrated by an increase in the 14-kDa form of LC3A/B. Western blotting analysis documented a concentration-dependent dephosphorylation of Akt and its downstream targets, GSK-3α/β and FOXO3A, in response to MK-2206. MK-2206 was cytotoxic to primary T-ALL cells and induced apoptosis in a T-ALL patient cell subset (CD34(+)/CD4(-)/CD7(-)), which is enriched in leukemia-initiating cells. Taken together, our findings indicate that Akt inhibition may represent a potential therapeutic strategy in T-ALL.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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