FOXM1 regulates leukemia stem cell quiescence and survival in MLL-rearranged AML

Yue Sheng, Chunjie Yu, Yin Liu, Chao Hu, Rui Ma, Xinyan Lu, Peng Ji, Jianjun Chen, Benjamin Mizukawa, Yong Huang, Jonathan D. Licht, Zhijian Qian*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


FOXM1, a known transcription factor, promotes cell proliferation in a variety of cancer cells. Here we show that Foxm1 is required for survival, quiescence and self-renewal of MLL-AF9 (MA9)-transformed leukemia stem cells (LSCs) in vivo. Mechanistically, Foxm1 upregulation activates the Wnt/β-catenin signaling pathways by directly binding to β-catenin and stabilizing β-catenin protein through inhibiting its degradation, thereby preserving LSC quiescence, and promoting LSC self-renewal in MLL-rearranged AML. More importantly, inhibition of FOXM1 markedly suppresses leukemogenic potential and induces apoptosis of primary LSCs from MLL-rearranged AML patients in vitro and in vivo in xenograft mice. Thus, our study shows a critical role and mechanisms of Foxm1 in MA9-LSCs, and indicates that FOXM1 is a potential therapeutic target for selectively eliminating LSCs in MLL-rearranged AML.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number928
JournalNature communications
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 1 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Physics and Astronomy(all)

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