Enhancement of TRAIL cytotoxicity by AG-490 in human ALL cells is characterized by downregulation of cIAP-1 and cIAP-2 through inhibition of Jak2/Stat3

Cell Res. 2009 Sep;19(9):1079-89. doi: 10.1038/cr.2009.80. Epub 2009 Jun 30.


The ability of death-inducing tumor necrosis factor-related apoptosis-inducing ligand (TRAIL) to selectively kill a variety of cancer cells has been largely described, but one of the major concerns with the treatment is the occurrence of drug resistance and possible toxic side effects. Here, we report that TRAIL induces apoptosis in Jurkat and SUPT1 T cell lines and in human T-ALL blasts but not in healthy subject-derived peripheral blood mononuclear cells. In parallel, the treatment with TRAIL and Tyrphostin (AG-490), a selective Janus kinase 2 inhibitor, produces an evident enhancement of cytotoxicity, characterized by a significant inhibition of Stat3 phosphorylation compared to controls or to TRAIL alone-treated samples, and associated with a dramatic decrease of both cIAP-1 and cIAP-2 mRNA levels. Downregulation of cIAP-1 and cIAP-2 by specific small interference RNAs significantly amplifies TRAIL-reduced cytotoxicity. All together, these findings strongly indicate that cIAP-1 and cIAP-2 downregulation is a fundamental step in the signaling pathways mediating the combinatorial effect of TRAIL and AG-490 on T cell leukemia. These findings may help to open new routes for the development of less toxic pharmacological strategies in the treatment of patients affected by TRAIL-sensitive leukemias.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Antibodies / pharmacology
  • Antineoplastic Agents / pharmacology
  • Apoptosis / drug effects
  • Baculoviral IAP Repeat-Containing 3 Protein
  • Down-Regulation / drug effects
  • Drug Synergism
  • Humans
  • Inhibitor of Apoptosis Proteins / genetics
  • Inhibitor of Apoptosis Proteins / metabolism*
  • Janus Kinase 2 / metabolism*
  • Jurkat Cells
  • Leukemia, T-Cell / drug therapy
  • Leukemia, T-Cell / metabolism
  • Leukemia, T-Cell / pathology
  • Leukocytes, Mononuclear / cytology
  • Leukocytes, Mononuclear / drug effects
  • Precursor Cell Lymphoblastic Leukemia-Lymphoma / drug therapy*
  • Precursor Cell Lymphoblastic Leukemia-Lymphoma / metabolism
  • Precursor Cell Lymphoblastic Leukemia-Lymphoma / pathology
  • RNA, Small Interfering
  • Receptors, TNF-Related Apoptosis-Inducing Ligand / metabolism
  • STAT3 Transcription Factor / metabolism*
  • Signal Transduction / drug effects
  • TNF-Related Apoptosis-Inducing Ligand / immunology
  • TNF-Related Apoptosis-Inducing Ligand / metabolism
  • TNF-Related Apoptosis-Inducing Ligand / pharmacology*
  • Tyrphostins / pharmacology*
  • Ubiquitin-Protein Ligases


  • Antibodies
  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Inhibitor of Apoptosis Proteins
  • RNA, Small Interfering
  • Receptors, TNF-Related Apoptosis-Inducing Ligand
  • STAT3 Transcription Factor
  • STAT3 protein, human
  • TNF-Related Apoptosis-Inducing Ligand
  • TNFSF10 protein, human
  • Tyrphostins
  • alpha-cyano-(3,4-dihydroxy)-N-benzylcinnamide
  • BIRC3 protein, human
  • Baculoviral IAP Repeat-Containing 3 Protein
  • Ubiquitin-Protein Ligases
  • JAK2 protein, human
  • Janus Kinase 2