Research Papers:

mTOR kinase inhibitors synergize with histone deacetylase inhibitors to kill B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia cells

Brandon R. Beagle, Duc M. Nguyen, Sharmila Mallya, Sarah S. Tang, Mengrou Lu, Zhihong Zeng, Marina Konopleva, Thanh-Trang Vo and David A. Fruman _

PDF  |  HTML  |  Supplementary Files  |  How to cite

Oncotarget. 2015; 6:2088-2100. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.2992

Metrics: PDF 2335 views  |   HTML 2889 views  |   ?  


Brandon R. Beagle1, Duc M. Nguyen1, Sharmila Mallya1, Sarah S. Tang1, Mengrou Lu1, Zhihong Zeng2,3, Marina Konopleva2,3, Thanh-Trang Vo1 and David A. Fruman1

1 Department of Molecular Biology & Biochemistry, University of California, Irvine, CA

2 Department of Leukemia, University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX

3 Department of Stem Cell Transplantation and Cellular Therapy, University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX


David A. Fruman, email:

Keywords: Leukemia, B-ALL, mTOR, histone deacetylase inhibitor

Received: November 17, 2014 Accepted: December 11, 2014 Published: December 12, 2014


High activity of the mechanistic target of rapamycin (mTOR) is associated with poor prognosis in pre-B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (B-ALL), suggesting that inhibiting mTOR might be clinically useful. However, emerging data indicate that mTOR inhibitors are most effective when combined with other target agents. One strategy is to combine with histone deacetylase (HDAC) inhibitors, since B-ALL is often characterized by epigenetic changes that silence the expression of pro-apoptotic factors. Here we tested combinations of mTOR and pan-HDAC inhibitors on B-ALL cells, including both Philadelphia chromosome-positive (Ph+) and non-Ph cell lines. We found that mTOR kinase inhibitors (TOR-KIs) synergize with HDAC inhibitors to cause apoptosis in B-ALL cells and the effect is greater when compared to rapamycin plus HDAC inhibitors. The combination of TOR-KIs with the clinically approved HDAC inhibitor vorinostat increased apoptosis in primary pediatric B-ALL cells in vitro. Mechanistically, TOR-KI and HDAC inhibitor combinations increased expression of pro-death genes, including targets of the Forkhead Box O (FOXO) transcription factors, and increased sensitivity to apoptotic triggers at the mitochondria. These findings suggest that targeting epigenetic factors can unmask the cytotoxic potential of TOR-KIs towards B-ALL cells.

Creative Commons License All site content, except where otherwise noted, is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
PII: 2992