Most patients with acute myelogenous leukemia (AML) relapse and die of their disease. Increasing evidence indicates that AML relapse is driven by the inability to eradicate leukemia stem cells (LSC). Thus, it is imperative to identify novel therapies that can ablate LSCs. Using an in silico gene expression-based screen for compounds evoking transcriptional effects similar to the previously described anti-LSC agent parthenolide, we identified AR-42 (OSU-HDAC42), a novel histone deacetylase inhibitor that is structurally similar to phenylbutyrate, but with improved activity at submicromolar concentrations. Here, we report that AR-42 induces NF-κB inhibition, disrupts the ability of Hsp90 to stabilize its oncogenic clients, and causes potent and specific cell death of LSCs but not normal hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells. Unlike parthenolide, the caspase-dependent apoptosis caused by AR-42 occurs without activation of Nrf-2-driven cytoprotective pathways. As AR-42 is already being tested in early clinical trials, we expect that our results can be extended to the clinic.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research