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Mer receptor tyrosine kinase is a novel therapeutic target in pediatric B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia.

Authors
  • Linger, Rachel M A1
  • DeRyckere, Deborah
  • Brandão, Luis
  • Sawczyn, Kelly K
  • Jacobsen, Kristen M
  • Liang, Xiayuan
  • Keating, Amy K
  • Graham, Douglas K
  • 1 Department of Pediatrics, Section of Hematology, Oncology, and Bone Marrow Transplantation, University of Colorado Denver School of Medicine, Aurora, CO 80045, USA.
Type
Published Article
Journal
Blood
Publisher
American Society of Hematology
Publication Date
Sep 24, 2009
Volume
114
Issue
13
Pages
2678–2687
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1182/blood-2009-03-209247
PMID: 19643988
Source
Medline
License
Unknown

Abstract

Acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) is currently treated with an intense regimen of chemotherapy yielding cure rates near 80%. However, additional changes using available drugs are unlikely to provide significant improvement in survival. New therapies are warranted given the risk of severe therapy-associated toxicities including infertility, organ damage, and secondary malignancy. Here, we report ectopic expression of the receptor tyrosine kinase Mer in pediatric B-cell ALL. Inhibition of Mer prevented Erk 1/2 activation, increased the sensitivity of B-ALL cells to cytotoxic agents in vitro by promoting apoptosis, and delayed disease onset in a mouse model of leukemia. In addition, we discovered cross-talk between the Mer and mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) signaling pathways. Our results identify Mer as a novel therapeutic target in ALL and suggest that inhibitors of Mer will interact synergistically with currently used therapies. This strategy may allow for dose reduction resulting in decreased toxicity and increased survival rates. Mer is aberrantly expressed in numerous other malignancies suggesting that this approach may have broad applications.

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