Combination of hematopoietic growth factors containing IL-3 induce acute myeloid leukemia cell sensitization to cycle specific and cycle non-specific drugs
Hematopoietic Cell Growth Factors
Leukemia, Myeloid, Acute
Laboratory studies have suggested that hematopoietic growth factors (GF), combined with cytosine-arabinoside (Ara-C) can enhance cytotoxic effects of this agent against acute myeloid leukemia (AML) cells. While clinical trials based on this growth factor/chemotherapy combination (GF/CT) are progressing with discordant results, further information regarding the underlying mechanisms have been reported supporting this rationale and requiring additional investigation. To assess the role of cytokinetic changes in the GF/CT strategy and to evaluate if chemotherapeutic agents regimens other than Ara-C, when combined with GF, can enhance their cytotoxic effects, we have primed AML blasts with two cytokine combinations and then exposed these cells to the S-phase specific agent Ara-C as well as to the phase non-specific drug daunorubicin (DNR) and to the alkylating agent 4-hydroperoxycyclophosphamide (4-HC). The two cytokine combinations used for priming AML blasts were: (i) interleukin-3 (IL-3) + granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF) + granulocyte colony-stimulating factor (G-CSF); and (ii) GM + G-CSF. Cytokinetic analysis in ten AML samples and clonogenic growth of leukemic colonies (CFU-L) in methylcellulose were used to detect proliferative and cytotoxic effects on AML samples. We report that in AML clonogenic cell growth can be stimulated by cytokines in 50% of the samples (4/8), and that Ara-C sensitization clearly occurs in two out of these four samples. Among the different cytokine combinations tested, the one containing IL-3 was the most effective through a cytokinetic mechanism consistent with recruitment (averaged G0 decrease p = 0.04; S-phase increase p = 0.005). Furthermore we observed increased cytotoxicity also to the phase non-specific drugs DNR and 4-HC, which may be mediated by other mechanisms recently described. We conclude that GF/CT combinations may also be beneficial in regimens containing drugs other than Ara-C, used for AML treatment, including bone marrow transplantation conditioning regimens.