A subset of acute myeloid and lymphoid leukemia cases harbor a t(10;11)(p13;q14) translocation resulting in the CALM-AF10 fusion gene. Standard chemotherapeutic strategies are often ineffective in treating patients with CALM-AF10 fusions. Hence, there is an urgent need to identify molecular pathways dysregulated in CALM-AF10-positive leukemias which may lay the foundation for novel targeted therapies. Here we demonstrate that the Polycomb Repressive Complex 1 gene BMI1 is consistently overexpressed in adult and pediatric CALM-AF10-positive leukemias. We demonstrate that genetic Bmi1 depletion abrogates CALM-AF10-mediated transformation of murine hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells (HSPCs). Furthermore, CALM-AF10-positive murine and human AML cells are sensitive to the small-molecule BMI1 inhibitor PTC-209 as well as to PTC-596, a compound in clinical development that has been shown to result in downstream degradation of BMI1 protein. PTC-596 significantly prolongs survival of mice injected with a human CALM-AF10 cell line in a xenograft assay. In summary, these results validate BMI1 as a bona fide candidate for therapeutic targeting in AML with CALM-AF10 rearrangements.
Copyright © 2019. Published by Elsevier Inc.