Effective treatment of chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML) largely depends on the eradication of CML leukemic stem cells (LSCs). We recently showed that CML LSCs depend on Tcf1 and Lef1 factors for self-renewal. Using a connectivity map, we identified prostaglandin E1 (PGE1) as a small molecule that partly elicited the gene expression changes in LSCs caused by Tcf1/Lef1 deficiency. Although it has little impact on normal hematopoiesis, we found that PGE1 treatment impaired the persistence and activity of LSCs in a pre-clinical murine CML model and a xenograft model of transplanted CML patient CD34+ stem/progenitor cells. Mechanistically, PGE1 acted on the EP4 receptor and repressed Fosb and Fos AP-1 factors in a β-catenin-independent manner. Misoprostol, an FDA-approved EP4 agonist, conferred similar protection against CML. These findings suggest that activation of this PGE1-EP4 pathway specifically targets CML LSCs and that the combination of PGE1/misoprostol with conventional tyrosine-kinase inhibitors could provide effective therapy for CML.
Keywords: AP-1 family transcription factors; Tcf1 and Lef1 transcription factors; chronic myeloid leukemia; connectivity map; leukemic stem cells; misoprostol; prostaglandin E1; self-renewal; tyrosine kinase inhibitors; xenograft.
Copyright © 2017 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.