AKN-028 induces cell cycle arrest, downregulation of Myc associated genes and dose dependent reduction of tyrosine kinase activity in acute myeloid leukemia


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Abstract

Graphical abstractSignificantly altered gene expression induced by AKN-028 compared to reference compound midostaurin or vehicle control in 3 different AML cell types, displayed as a principle component analysis plot.AKN-028 is a novel tyrosine kinase inhibitor with preclinical activity in acute myeloid leukemia (AML), presently undergoing investigation in a phase I/II study. It is a potent inhibitor of the FMS-like kinase 3 (FLT3) but shows in vitro activity in a wide range of AML samples. In the present study, we have characterized the effects of AKN-028 on AML cells in more detail. AKN-028 induced a dose-dependent G0/1 arrest in AML cell line MV4-11. Treatment with AKN-028 caused significantly altered gene expression in all AML cell types tested (430 downregulated, 280 upregulated transcripts). Subsequent gene set enrichment analysis revealed enrichment of genes associated with the proto-oncogene and cell cycle regulator c-Myc among the downregulated genes in both AKN-028 and midostaurin treated cells. Kinase activity profiling in AML cell lines and primary AML samples showed that tyrosine kinase activity, but not serine/threonine kinase activity, was inhibited by AKN-028 in a dose dependent manner in all samples tested, reaching approximately the same level of kinase activity. Cells sensitive to AKN-028 showed a higher overall tyrosine kinase activity than more resistant ones, whereas serine/threonine kinase activity was similar for all primary AML samples.In summary, AKN-028 induces cell cycle arrest in AML cells, downregulates Myc-associated genes and affect several signaling pathways. AML cells with high global tyrosine kinase activity seem to be more sensitive to the cytotoxic effect of AKN-028 in vitro.

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