Lysine specific histone methylation and deacetylation and DNA hypermethylation are involved in the epigenetic silencing of tumor suppressor genes (TSG), e.g., p15 and p16. DNA methyltransferase (DNMT) inhibitors 5-azacytidine and 5-aza-2’-deoxycytidine demethylate the CpG dinucleotide islands in or near gene promoters, leading to derepression of TSGs in AML. SGI-110 (S110) (

Cancer Res.
) and SGI-1036 (SuperGen, Inc.) are novel, DNMT inhibitors, which also deplete DNMT1 levels. SGI-110 is a dinucleotide containing 5-aza-2’-deoxycytidine and SGI-1036 is a non-nucleoside heterocycle. The multi-protein complex PRC (polycomb repressive complex) 2 that contains the three core proteins EZH2, SUZ12 and EED, has intrinsic histone methyltransferase (HMTase) activity. This is mediated by the SET domain of EZH2, which induces trimethylation of histone H3 on lysine (K)-27. We recently reported that treatment with the pan-HDAC inhibitor panobinostat (LBH589, Novartis Pharmaceutical Corp) acetylates and inhibits the ATP binding and chaperone function of hsp90, as well as depletes the levels of EZH2, Suz12 and EED in cultured and primary AML cells (
Mol Cancer Ther.
). Within the PRC2 complex, EZH2 was shown to interact with and modulate the DNA methyltransferases DNMT1, DNMT3a and DNMT3b, which affects their binding to the EZH2-targeted gene promoters. In the present studies we determined the effects of SGI-110 or SGI-1036 and LBH589 on the PRC2 proteins EZH2 and SUZ12, and DNMT1, in the cultured (HL-60, OCI-AML3 and K562) and primary AML cells. Treatment with SGI-110 (0.5 to 2.0 μM) or SGI-1036 (0.5 and 1.0 μM) for 24 hours depleted protein levels of DNMT1 and EZH2 in the cultured and primary AML cells. SGI-110 and SGI-1036 promoted proteasomal degradation of DNMT1 and EZH2 since co-treatment with bortezomib significantly restored DNMT1 and EZH2 levels in the AML cells. Following treatment with SGI-110 or SGI-1036, bisulfite modification and methylation specific PCR demonstrated increase in unmethylated promoter DNA of p15 and JunB. This was associated with induction of the mRNA and protein levels of p15 and JunB, as well as caused inhibition of cell cycle progression (% of cells increased in G1 and increased in S phase) and colony growth in the soft agar. Treatment with 1.0 μM of SGI-110 or SGI-1036 also induced PARP cleavage activity of caspases and induced morphologic evidence of apoptosis in the AML cells. Co-treatment with 10 to 50 nM panobinostat enhanced SGI-110 or SGI-1036 mediated depletion of DNMT1 and EZH2, with more de-repression of the p15 and JunB and significant increase in apoptosis of AML cells. Collectively, these findings indicate that, SGI-110 and SGI-1036 deplete DNMT1 and EZH2 levels, as well as exert potent anti-AML activity. Additionally, combined epigenetic therapy consisting of SGI-110 or SGI-1036 in combination with panobinostat may represent a promising novel treatment of AML.

Disclosures: Atadja:Novartis Institute for Biomedical Research, Inc.: Employment. Hwang:SuperGen, Inc.: Employment. Redkar:SuperGen, Inc.: Employment. Bhalla:Novartis Institute for Biomedical Research, Inc.: Honoraria, Research Funding; Merck: Research Funding.

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