Acute myeloid leukemia (AML) with fms-like tyrosine kinase 3 internal tandem duplication (FLT3-ITD) relapses with new chromosome abnormalities following chemotherapy, implicating genomic instability. Error-prone alternative non-homologous end-joining (Alt-NHEJ) DNA double-strand break (DSB) repair is upregulated in FLT3-ITD-expresssing cells, driven by c-Myc. The serine/threonine kinase Pim-1 is upregulated downstream of FLT3-ITD, and inhibiting Pim increases topoisomerase 2 (TOP2) inhibitor chemotherapy drug induction of DNA DSBs and apoptosis. We hypothesized that Pim inhibition increases DNA DSBs by downregulating Alt-NHEJ, also decreasing genomic instability. Alt-NHEJ activity, measured with a green fluorescent reporter construct, increased in FLT3-ITD-transfected Ba/F3-ITD cells treated with TOP2 inhibitors, and this increase was abrogated by Pim kinase inhibitor AZD1208 co-treatment. TOP2 inhibitor and AZD1208 co-treatment downregulated cellular and nuclear expression of c-Myc and Alt-NHEJ repair pathway proteins DNA polymerase θ, DNA ligase 3 and XRCC1 in FLT3-ITD cell lines and AML patient blasts. ALT-NHEJ protein downregulation was preceded by c-Myc downregulation, inhibited by c-Myc overexpression and induced by c-Myc knockdown or inhibition. TOP2 inhibitor treatment increased chromosome breaks in metaphase spreads in FLT3-ITD-expressing cells, and AZD1208 co-treatment abrogated these increases. Thus Pim kinase inhibitor co-treatment both enhances TOP2 inhibitor cytotoxicity and decreases TOP2 inhibitor-induced genomic instability in cells with FLT3-ITD.
- Alternative non-homologous end-joining DNA repair
- FLT3 internal tandem duplication
- Genomic instability
- Pim kinase
- Topoisomerase 2 inhibitors
ASJC Scopus subject areas