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Systematic in-vitro evaluation of the NCI/NIH Developmental Therapeutics Program Approved Oncology Drug Set for the identification of a candidate drug repertoire for MLL-rearranged leukemia

Authors Hoeksema KA, Jayanthan A, Cooper T, Gore L, Trippett T, Boklan J, Arceci RJ, Narendran A

Published 5 September 2011 Volume 2011:4 Pages 149—168


Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 4

Kimberley A Hoeksema1, Aarthi Jayanthan1, Todd Cooper2, Lia Gore3, Tanya Trippett4, Jessica Boklan6, Robert J Arceci5, Aru Narendran1
Division of Pediatric Oncology, Alberta Children's Hospital, Calgary, AB, Canada; 2Aflac Cancer Center and Blood Disorders Service, Children's Healthcare of Atlanta, Emory University, Atlanta, GA, USA; 3Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders, Children's Hospital, University of Colorado Denver, Aurora, CO, USA; 4Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York, NY, USA; 5Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD, USA; 6Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders, Phoenix Children's Hospital, Phoenix, AZ, USA

Abstract: Despite significant progress made in the overall cure rate, the prognosis for relapsed and refractory malignancies in children remains extremely poor. Hence, there is an urgent need for studies that enable the timely selection of appropriate agents for Phase I clinical studies. The Pediatric Oncology Experimental Therapeutics Investigators' Consortium (POETIC) is systematically evaluating libraries of known and novel compounds for activity against subsets of high-risk pediatric malignancies with defined molecular aberrations for future clinical development. In this report, we describe the in-vitro activity of a diverse panel of approved oncology drugs against MLL-rearranged pediatric leukemia cell lines. Agents in the Approved Oncology Drug Set II (National Cancer Institute/National Institutes of Health Developmental Therapeutics Program) were evaluated by in-vitro cytotoxicity assays in pediatric acute lymphoblastic leukemia and acute myeloid leukemia cell lines with MLL gene rearrangements. Validation studies were carried out with patient leukemia cells in culture. Comparative analysis for toxicity against nonmalignant cells was evaluated in normal bone marrow stromal cells and normal human lymphocytes. Results from this study show that 42 of the 89 agents tested have measurable cytotoxicity against leukemia cells, and among these, 12 were effective against all five MLL-rearranged cell lines (IC50 [half maximal inhibitory concentration] < 1 µM). These 12 agents include cladribine, dactinomycin, daunorubicin, docetaxel, etoposide, gemcitabine, mitomycin C, mitoxantrone, teniposide, topotecan, triethylenemelamine, and vinblastine. We show that the Approved Oncology Drug Set II contains a number of agents with potent antileukemic activity in the tested cell lines. As approved drugs, these agents have been used in clinical settings for many years for other malignancies, thus their toxicity profile, pharmacokinetics, and other properties are readily available. Further evaluation of their use in future clinical trials for pediatric leukemia with MLL abnormalities should be considered.

Keywords: drug screening, therapeutic repertoire

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