Activity of a selective inhibitor of nuclear export, selinexor (KPT-330), against AML-initiating cells engrafted into immunosuppressed NSG mice
Leukemia, Myeloid, Acute
Neoplastic Stem Cells
Receptors, Cytoplasmic and Nuclear
Currently available combination chemotherapy for acute myeloid leukemia (AML) often fails to result in long-term remissions, emphasizing the need for novel therapeutic strategies. We reasoned that targeted inhibition of a prominent nuclear exporter, XPO1/CRM1, could eradicate self-renewing leukemia-initiating cells (LICs) whose survival depends on timely XPO1-mediated transport of specific protein and RNA cargoes. Using an immunosuppressed mouse model bearing primary patient-derived AML cells, we demonstrate that selinexor (KPT-330), an oral antagonist of XPO1 that is currently in clinical trials, has strong activity against primary AML cells while sparing normal stem and progenitor cells. Importantly, limiting dilution transplantation assays showed that this cytotoxic activity is not limited to the rapidly proliferating bulk population of leukemic cells but extends to the LICs, whose inherent drug resistance and unrestricted self-renewal capacity has been implicated in the difficulty of curing AML patients with conventional chemotherapy alone.