Abstract

Introduction

The human organic cation transporter-1 (hOCT-1) is the primary active influx protein for imatinib in BCR-ABL positive cells. The functional activity of the OCT-1 protein (OCT-1 activity, OA) is predictive of molecular response in de-novo chronic phase chronic myeloid leukemia (CP-CML) patients. We have previously demonstrated that diclofenac, a competitive peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-γ (PPARγ) antagonist, can significantly increase OA in CML cells 1. However, the role of PPARγ and its ligands in OA regulation remain unknown. Thus, the link between OA and PPARγ in CML cells has been investigated in this study.

Methods

OA was determined by intracellular uptake and retention assay (IUR) in the presence and absence of the OCT-1 inhibitor, prazosin 2. To assess the effect of PPARγ ligands on OA, BCR-ABL positive cell lines (KU812, K562) were incubated with PPARγ antagonist (GW9662, T0070907) or agonists (GW1929, rosiglitazone) respectively for 1 hour immediately prior to the IUR assays. The OA was also assessed in the mononuclear cells (MNCs) of 77 CP-CML patients enrolled to the TIDEL II trial. PPARγ activity in CML MNC nuclear extracts was determined through the use of a PPARγ Transcription Factor Assay Kits according to the manufacturer's instructions. To assess the effect of PPARγ ligands on cell death, KU812 or K562 cells were stained with AnnexinV and 7-AAD for detection of apoptosis after the co-administration of imatinib and PPARγ ligands for 72 hours.

Results

A significant increase in OA was observed in KU812 and K562 cells treated with PPARγ antagonists. In contrast, PPARγ agonists significantly decreased the OA in both cell lines (Table 1). A negative link between OA and PPARγ activity was observed in CML MNC samples (R=-0.585, p<0.001). PPARγ activity was significantly elevated in CML patients who had a low OA at diagnosis (less than 4 ng/200,000 cells) compared with those who had higher OA (p<0.001). After 72 hours co-administration with 0.1µM imatinib, KU812 cells treated with PPARγ antagonists (GW9662 and T0070907) showed a significantly lower cell viability (40% and 18% respectively) compared with vehicle control (70%, p<0.001). Similar results were also observed in K562 cells after co-administration with 1.0µM imatinib for 72 hours. K562 cells treated with PPARγ antagonists (GW9662: 51% and T0070907: 47%) showed a significantly lower cell viability (51% and 47% respectively) compared with vehicle control (61%, p<0.05).

Table 1

The effect of PPARγ ligands on OCT-1 activity (percentage of vehicle control, *p<0.05)

 PPARγ antagonists PPARγ agonists 
 GW9662 T0070907 GW1929 Rosiglitazone 
KU812 (n=6) 121.3%* 130.3%* 71.4%* 52.4%* 
K562 (n=3) 124.8%* 127.7%* 66.5%* 56.2%* 
 PPARγ antagonists PPARγ agonists 
 GW9662 T0070907 GW1929 Rosiglitazone 
KU812 (n=6) 121.3%* 130.3%* 71.4%* 52.4%* 
K562 (n=3) 124.8%* 127.7%* 66.5%* 56.2%* 
Conclusion

Ligand-activation or inhibition of PPARγ is a regulator of OA in CML cell lines, and the low MNC OCT-1 activity in CML patients is consistent with the high level of PPARγ activity in these cells. Low PPARγ activity may be the key driver for low OA and poor imatinib response observed in a subset of CML patients. Importantly, the enhanced OA as a result of PPARγ antagonist treatment resulted in increased cell death following co-administration with imatinib. Ongoing studies relating to the upstream pathways involved in PPARγ activation aim to reveal the possible mechanism of OA modulation by PPARγ. Enhancement of OA by PPARg antagonists is likely to provide an important axis for clinical application to improve the clinical efficacy of imatinib. This would be particularly important in patients with low OA who currently have inferior outcomes with imatinib therapy.

1. Wang J, Hughes TP, Kok CH, et al. Contrasting effects of diclofenac and ibuprofen on active imatinib uptake into leukaemic cells. British Journal of Cancer. 2012;106(11):1772-1778. 2. White DL, Saunders VA, Dang P, et al. Most CML patients who have a suboptimal response to imatinib have low OCT-1 activity: Higher doses of imatinib may overcome the negative impact of low OCT-1 activity. Blood. 2007;110(12):4064-4072.

Disclosures:

Hughes:Novartis: Honoraria, Membership on an entity’s Board of Directors or advisory committees, Research Funding; BMS: Honoraria, Membership on an entity’s Board of Directors or advisory committees, Research Funding; Ariad: Honoraria, Membership on an entity’s Board of Directors or advisory committees, Research Funding; CSL: Research Funding. White:Novartis: Research Funding; BMS: Research Funding, Speakers Bureau; Ariad: Research Funding; CSL: Research Funding.

Author notes

*

Asterisk with author names denotes non-ASH members.