The novel NF-κB inhibitor IMD-0354 induces apoptosis in chronic lymphocytic leukemia

Blood Cancer J. 2011 Mar;1(3):e12. doi: 10.1038/bcj.2011.9. Epub 2011 Mar 25.


Nuclear factor-κB (NF-κB) is an important regulator of cell survival and has been shown to be constitutively active in chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) cells. Recently, a novel NF-κB inhibitor, IMD-0354 (N-(3, 5-bis-trifluoromethyl-phenyl)-5-chloro-2-hydroxy-benzamide), was shown to specifically inhibit the phosphorylation of IκBα by IkB kinases, thus preventing NF-κB release. In this study, we investigated if IMD-0354 can inhibit NF-κB activation and induce apoptosis in CLL cells in vitro. The rate of increase in apoptosis, drug sensitivity and DNA-binding activity of NF-κB were studied using Annexin V stainings, the fluorometric microculture cytotoxicity assay and electrophoretic mobility shift assay, respectively. Finally, the impact of IMD-0354 treatment on the expression of a set of apoptosis-related genes was investigated. The results clearly show that IMD-0354 induced apoptosis (mean 26%, range 8-48%) in CLL cells, independent of immunoglobulin heavy variable (IGHV) gene mutational status, and showed a dose-dependent cytotoxic effect. IMD-0354 treatment also significantly lowered the DNA-binding activity of NF-κB in CLL cells. In addition, we identified differences in expression levels of pro- and antiapoptotic genes following IMD-0354 treatment. In summary, our novel findings show that IMD-0354 can induce apoptosis in CLL cells, and thus merits further investigation as an anticancer agent in vivo.