Transient CDK4/6 inhibition protects hematopoietic stem cells from chemotherapy-induced exhaustion

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Conventional cytotoxic chemotherapy is highly effective in certain cancers but causes dose-limiting damage to normal proliferating cells, especially hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells (HSPCs). Serial exposure to cytotoxics causes a long-term hematopoietic compromise (“exhaustion”), which limits the use of chemotherapy and success of cancer therapy. We show that the coadministration of G1T28 (trilaciclib), which is a small-molecule inhibitor of cyclin-dependent kinases 4 and 6 (CDK4/6), contemporaneously with cytotoxic chemotherapy protects murine hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) from chemotherapy-induced exhaustion in a serial 5-fluorouracil treatment model. Consistent with a cell-intrinsic effect, we show directly preserved HSC function resulting in a more rapid recovery of peripheral blood counts, enhanced serial transplantation capacity, and reduced myeloid skewing. When administered to healthy human volunteers, G1T28 demonstrated excellent in vivo pharmacology and transiently inhibited bone marrow (BM) HSPC proliferation. These findings suggest that the combination of CDK4/6 inhibitors with cytotoxic chemotherapy should provide a means to attenuate therapy-induced BM exhaustion in patients with cancer.

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