The serine/threonine Pim kinases are upregulated in specific hematologic neoplasms, and play an important role in key signal transduction pathways, including those regulated by MYC, MYCN, FLT3-ITD, BCR-ABL, HOXA9, and EWS fusions. We demonstrate that SMI-4a, a novel benzylidene-thiazolidine-2, 4-dione small molecule inhibitor of the Pim kinases, kills a wide range of both myeloid and lymphoid cell lines with precursor T-cell lymphoblastic leukemia/lymphoma (pre - T-LBL/T-ALL) being highly sensitive. Incubation of pre - T-LBL cells with SMI-4a induced G1 phase cell-cycle arrest secondary to a dose-dependent induction of p27Kip1, apoptosis through the mitochondrial pathway, and inhibition of the mammalian target of rapamycin C1 (mTORC1) pathway based on decreases in phosphop70 S6K and phospho-4E-BP1, 2 substrates of this enzyme. In addition, treatment of these cells with SMI-4a was found to induce phosphorylation of extracellular signal-related kinase1/2 (ERK1/2), and the combination of SMI-4a and a mitogenactivated protein kinase kinase 1/2 (MEK1/2) inhibitor was highly synergistic in killing pre - T-LBL cells. In immunodeficient mice carrying subcutaneous pre - T-LBL tumors, treatment twice daily with SMI-4a caused a significant delay in the tumor growth without any change in the weight, blood counts, or chemistries. Our data suggest that inhibition of the Pim protein kinases may be developed as a therapeutic strategy for the treatment of pre - T-LBL.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cell Biology