The Antiarrhythmic Drug, Amiodarone, Decreases AKT Activity and Sensitizes Human Acute Myeloid Leukemia Cells to Apoptosis by ABT-263

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Successful treatment of leukemia requires new medications to combat drug resistance, but the development of novel therapies is an arduous and risky endeavor. Repurposing currently approved drugs or those already in clinical development to treat other indications is a more practical approach. Moreover, combinatorial therapeutics are often more efficacious than single agent therapeutics because the former can simultaneously target multiple pathways that mitigate tumor aggressiveness and induce cancer cell death.

Material and Methods:

In this study, we combined the class III antiarrhythmic agent amiodarone and the BH3 mimetic ABT-263 based on data from a prior drug screen to assess the degree of apoptotic induction in 2 human leukemia cell lines.


The combination yielded statistically significant increases in apoptosis in both cell lines by downregulating AKT activity and increasing cleaved caspase-3.


Overall, our findings suggest that combining K+ channel blockers with prosurvival Bcl-2 family inhibitors is a promising therapeutic approach in treating leukemia.

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