Research Papers:

Homoharringtonine suppresses imatinib resistance via the Bcl-6/p53 pathway in chronic myeloid leukemia cell lines

Qian Wang _, Wei Ding, Yihan Ding, Jingjing Ma, Zhaoye Qian, Jingxian Shao and Yufeng Li

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Oncotarget. 2017; 8:37594-37604. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.16731

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Qian Wang1, Wei Ding1, Yihan Ding1, Jingjing Ma1, Zhaoye Qian2, Jingxian Shao2 and Yufeng Li1

1Department of Hematology, Huai’an First People’s Hospital, Nanjing Medical University, Huai’an, 223300, China

2Department of Oncology, Huai’an First People’s Hospital, Nanjing Medical University, Huai’an, 223300, China

Correspondence to:

Yufeng Li, email: [email protected]

Keywords: Bcl-6/p53 pathway, homoharringtonine, imatinib, drug-resistance, chronic myeloid leukemia

Received: March 04, 2016     Accepted: March 08, 2017     Published: March 30, 2017


Background: The anti-leukemic mechanism of homoharringtonine (HHT) differs from that of IM, and HHT is one of the most useful agents for use in patients with IM resistance or intolerance. The Bcl-6/p53 pathway has been shown to regulate the sensitivity of tumor cells to antitumor drugs. We tested whether HHT blocked the Bcl-6/p53 pathway in order to promote the apoptosis of IM-resistant cells in vitro and in vivo.

Results: Ph+ acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) cells and IM-resistant chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) cells showed high expression of Bcl-6 protein. Bcl-6 mediated the upregulation of p53, and and Bcl-6 induced growth inhibition of IM-resistant cells as well as its apoptosis by targeting p53. In addition, Bcl-6 was downregulated moderately after HHT treatment in different cells. The Bcl-6 expression was significantly increased in patients with CML when compared with healthy subjects. Furthermore, the expression of Bcl-6 was higher in patients with CML-blastic phase (CML-BP) than in those with CML-chronic phase (CML-CP).

Methods: The inhibitory effect of drugs on cell growth was detected by Cell Counting Kit-8 (CCK-8), The apoptosis rate and the cell cycle were investigated by flow cytometry. The expression of Bcl-6, p53, Bcl-2, caspase9, and caspase3 proteins was assayed by western blot, Real- Time PCR (qPCR) detect Bcl-6 and p53 mRNA.

Conclusions: HHT can suppress the growth and induce apoptosis of IM-resistant cells, the mechanism of which is associated with blocking of the Bcl-6/p53 pathway. Our results could offer a theoretical explanation for HHT use in patients with IM resistance or intolerance.

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