Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Blood. 1998 Aug 1;92(3):968-80.

Use of the microculture kinetic assay of apoptosis to determine chemosensitivities of leukemias.

Author information

Department of Medicine, the Division of Hematology and the Department of Pediatrics, the Division of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville, TN, USA.


Chemotherapeutic agents exert their antitumor effects by inducing apoptosis. The microculture kinetic (MiCK) assay provides an automated, continuous means of monitoring apoptosis in a cell population. We used the MiCK assay to determine the chemosensitivities of the human promyelocytic HL-60 and lymphoblastic CEM cell lines and leukemia cells freshly isolated from patients with acute nonlymphocytic (ANLL) or acute lymphocytic (ALL) leukemias. Continuous monitoring of apoptosis in the MiCK assay permits determination of the time to the maximum apoptosis (Tm) and its two components which are initiation time (Ti) and development time (Td). Duration of the three timing components of apoptosis varies from hours to days depending on the drug, drug concentration, and type of target cells. In the MiCK assay, the extent of apoptosis is reported in kinetic units of apoptosis. Kinetic units are determined by the slope of the curve created when optical density caused by cell blebbing is plotted as a function of time. Using the leukemia cell lines, we define the relationship between kinetic units determined by the MiCK assay and the percentage of morphologically apoptotic cells in the culture. Flow cytometry analysis of apoptosis in Annexin-V-fluorescein isothiocyanate-labeled preparations of HL-60 and CEM cells was also used to compare with data obtained by the MiCK assay. The feasibility of the MiCK assay of apoptosis as a chemosensitivity test was confirmed by its comparison with a 3H-thymidine incorporation assay. We show that samples from 10 ANLL and ALL patients patients tested for sensitivity to various doses of idarubicin (IDR), daunorubicin (DNR), or mitoxantrone (MTA) gave the same percentages of apoptotic cells when calculated by the MiCK assay as when determined by morphological analysis. The MiCK assay was used for dose-response analyses of the sensitivities to IDR, DNR, and MTA of leukemia cells from 4 other patients (2 ANLL and 2 ALL). The results from both cell lines and patient samples indicate that ANLL cells are more sensitive than ALL cells to all three of these chemotherapeutic agents. However, for individual patients the chemosensitivities varied significantly among the three chemotherapeutic agents. These varying responses to IDR, DNR, and MTA indicate that the MiCK assay results can be of potential use in designing a treatment regimen for a specific patient with acute leukemia. Among several drugs of presumed similar efficacy, the MiCK assay can permit the selection of the specific chemotherapeutic agent that causes the most apoptosis in the patient's leukemic cells.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free full text
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for HighWire
    Loading ...
    Support Center