B-cell chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) is characterized by accumulation of clonal lymphocytes resistant to apoptosis. We evaluated the ability of the investigational antileukemic agent adaphostin to induce apoptosis in CLL B cells and synergize with fludarabine in vitro. Analysis by annexin V/propidium iodide (PI) staining revealed that the concentration of adaphostin required to induce 50% cell death (IC 50) at 24 hours was 4.2 μM (range, 1.10-11.25 μM; median, 4.25 μM; n = 29) for CLL isolates and more than 10 μM for B and T cells from healthy donors. Immu noblots demonstrated adaphostin induced poly(adenosine diphosphate-ri-bose) polymerase (PARP) cleavage and cleavage of caspase-3 substrates, suggesting that adaphostin induces apoptosis. Adaphostin increased the level of reactive oxygen species (ROS) within CLL B cells, and the antioxidant N-acetylcysteine blocked both adaphostin-induced ROS generation and apoptosis. Adaphostin also caused a decrease in the level of the antiapoptotic protein Bcl-2. When adaphostin was combined with fludarabine (F-ARA-AMP), a synergistic effect on cell death was observed in all 10 CLL samples. These findings not only indicate that adaphostin induces apoptosis selectively in CLL B cells through a mechanism that involves ROS generation but also demonstrate its ability to augment the effects of fludarabine. Further preclinical development of adaphostin as a novel agent for the treatment of CLL appears warranted.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cell Biology