by Craig T. Wallington-Beddoe, Anthony S. Don, John Hewson, Qiao Qiao, Rachael A. Papa, Richard B. Lock, Kenneth F. Bradstock, Linda J. Bendall
Most patients with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) respond well to standard chemotherapy-based treatments. However a significant proportion of patients, particularly adult patients, relapse with the majority dying of leukemia. FTY720 is an immunosuppressive drug that was recently approved for the treatment of multiple sclerosis and is currently under pre-clinical investigation as a therapy for a number of hematological malignancies. Using human ALL xenografts in NOD/SCID?c-/- mice, we show for the first time that three Ph+ human ALL xenografts responded to FTY720 with an 80±12% (p?=?0.048) reduction in overall disease when treatment was commenced early. In contrast, treatment of mice with FTY720 did not result in reduced leukemia compared to controls using four separate human Ph- ALL xenografts. Although FTY720 reactivated PP2A in vitro, this reactivation was not required for death of Ph- ALL cells. The plasma levels of FTY720 achieved in the mice were in the high nanomolar range. However, the response seen in the Ph+ ALL xenografts when treatment was initiated early implies that in vivo efficacy may be obtained with substantially lower drug concentrations than those required in vitro. Our data suggest that while FTY720 may have potential as a treatment for Ph+ ALL it will not be a useful agent for the treatment of Ph- B-ALL.