Acute myeloid leukaemia is a complex, highly aggressive hematopoietic disorder. Currently, in spite of great advances in radiotherapy and chemotherapy, the prognosis for AML patients with initial treatment failure is still poor. Therefore, the need for novel and efficient therapies to improve AML treatment outcome has become desperately urgent. In this study, we identified the expression of ZEB1 (a transcription factor) and focused on its possible role and mechanisms in the progression of AML. According to the data provided by the Gene Expression Profiling Interactive Analysis (GEPIA), high expression of ZEB1 closely correlates with poor prognosis in AML patients. Additionally, the overexpression of ZEB1 was observed in both AML patients and cell lines. Further functional experiments showed that ZEB1 depletion can induce AML differentiation and inhibit AML proliferation in vitro and in vivo. Moreover, ZEB1 expression was negatively correlated with tumour suppressor P53 expression and ZEB1 can directly bind to P53. Our results also revealed that ZEB1 can regulate PTEN/PI3K/AKT signalling pathway. The inhibitory effect of ZEB1 silencing on PTEN/PI3K/AKT signalling pathway could be significantly reversed by P53 small interfering RNA treatment. Overall, the present data indicated that ZEB1 may be a promising therapeutic target for AML treatment or a potential biomarker for diagnosis and prognosis.
Keywords: AKT pathway; P53; PI3K; PTEN; ZEB1; acute myeloid leukaemia; differentiation; proliferation.
© 2021 The Authors. Journal of Cellular and Molecular Medicine published by Foundation for Cellular and Molecular Medicine and John Wiley & Sons Ltd.