In vitro apoptotic effects of farnesyltransferase blockade in acute myeloid leukemia cells
Ricci, Pier Carlo
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Farnesyltransferase inhibitors (FTIs) are a class of oral anti-cancer drugs currently tested in phase I-II clinical trials for treatment of hematological malignancies. The in vitro effects of various FTIs (alpha-hydroxyfarnesylphosphonic acid, manumycin-A and SCH66336) were tested on CD34+ KG1a cell line and in primary acute myeloid leukemia (AML) cells from 64 patients. By cell viability and clonogeneic methylcellulose assays, FTIs showed a significant inhibitory activity in CD34+ KG1a and primary bone marrow (BM) leukemic cells from 56% of AML patients. FTIs also induced activation of caspase-3 and Fas-independent apoptosis, confirmed by the finding that inhibition of caspase-8 was not associated with the rescue of FTItreated cells. We concluded that other cellular events induced by FTIs may trigger activation of caspase-3 and subsequent apoptosis, but the expression of proapoptotic molecules, as Bcl-2 and Bcl-XL, and antiapoptotic, as Bcl-X(s), were not modified by FTIs. By contrast, expression of inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) was increased in FTI-treated AML cells. Our results suggest a very complex mechanism of action of FTIs that require more studies for a better clinical use of the drugs alone or in combination in the treatment of hematological malignancies.