Direct reversal of glucocorticoid resistance by AKT inhibition in acute lymphoblastic leukemia

Piovan E, Yu J, Tosello V, Herranz D, Ambesi-Impiombato A, Da Silva AC, Sanchez-Martin M, Perez-Garcia A, Rigo I, Castillo M, Indraccolo S, Cross JR, de Stanchina E, Paietta E, Racevskis J, Rowe JM, Tallman MS, Basso G, Meijerink JP, Cordon-Cardo C, Califano A, Ferrando AA

Cancer Cell

December 09, 2013

Glucocorticoid resistance is a major driver of therapeutic failure in T cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (T-ALL). Here, we identify the AKT1 kinase as a major negative regulator of the NR3C1 glucocorticoid receptor protein activity driving glucocorticoid resistance in T-ALL. Mechanistically, AKT1 impairs glucocorticoid-induced gene expression by direct phosphorylation of NR3C1 at position S134 and blocking glucocorticoid-induced NR3C1 translocation to the nucleus. Moreover, we demonstrate that loss of PTEN and consequent AKT1 activation can effectively block glucocorticoid-induced apoptosis and induce resistance to glucocorticoid therapy. Conversely, pharmacologic inhibition of AKT with MK2206 effectively restores glucocorticoid-induced NR3C1 translocation to the nucleus, increases the response of T-ALL cells to glucocorticoid therapy, and effectively reverses glucocorticoid resistance in vitro and in vivo.

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Last updated: June 28, 2020