Children of Hispanic/Latino ancestry have increased incidence of high-risk B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (HR B-ALL) with poor prognosis. This leukemia is characterized by a single-copy deletion of the IKZF1 (IKAROS) tumor suppressor and increased activation of the PI3K/AKT/mTOR pathway. This identifies mTOR as an attractive therapeutic target in HR B-ALL. Here, we report that IKAROS represses MTOR transcription and IKAROS’ ability to repress MTOR in leukemia is impaired by oncogenic CK2 kinase. Treatment with the CK2 inhibitor, CX-4945, enhances IKAROS activity as a repressor of MTOR, resulting in reduced expression of MTOR in HR B-ALL. Thus, we designed a novel therapeutic approach that implements dual targeting of mTOR: direct inhibition of the mTOR protein (with rapamycin), in combination with IKAROS-mediated transcriptional repression of the MTOR gene (using the CK2 inhibitor, CX-4945). Combination treatment with rapamycin and CX-4945 shows synergistic therapeutic effects in vitro and in patient-derived xenografts from Hispanic/Latino children with HR B-ALL. These data suggest that such therapy has the potential to reduce the health disparity in HR B-ALL among Hispanic/Latino children. The dual targeting of oncogene transcription, combined with inhibition of the corresponding oncoprotein provides a paradigm for a novel precision medicine approach for treating hematological malignancies.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research