mTOR inhibitors are synergistic with methotrexate: An effective combination to treat acute lymphoblastic leukemia

David T. Teachey, Cecilia Sheen, Junior Hall, Theresa Ryan, Valerie I. Brown, Jonathan Fish, Gregor S.D. Reid, Alix E. Seif, Robin Norris, Yueh J. Chang, Martin Carroll, Stephan A. Grupp

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

94 Scopus citations

Abstract

We have previously demonstrated that mTOR inhibitors (MTls) are active in preclinical models of acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL). MTIs may increase degradation of cyclin D1, a protein involved in dihydrofolate reductase (DHFR) synthesis. Because resistance to methotrexate may correlate with high DHFR expression, we hypothesized MTIs may increase sensitivity of ALL to methotrexate through decreasing DHFR by increasing turn-over of cyclin D1. We tested this hypothesis using multiple ALL cell lines and nonobese diabetic/severe combined immunodeficient (NOD/SCID) mice xenografted with human ALL. We found MTIs and methotrexate were synergistic in combination in vitro and in vivo. Mice treated with both drugs went into a complete and durable remission whereas single agent treatment caused an initial partial response that ultimately progressed. ALL cells treated with MTIs had markedly decreased expression of DHFR and cyclin D1, providing a novel mechanistic explanation for a combined effect. We found methotrexate and MTIs are an effective and potentially synergistic combination in ALL.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2020-2023
Number of pages4
JournalBlood
Volume112
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 1 2008

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biochemistry
  • Immunology
  • Hematology
  • Cell Biology

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