Exploring the ATR-CHK1 pathway in the response of doxorubicin-induced DNA damages in acute lymphoblastic leukemia cells.

Cell Biology and Toxicology
Andrea Ghelli Luserna Di RoràGiorgia Simonetti


Doxorubicin (Dox) is one of the most commonly used anthracyclines for the treatment of solid and hematological tumors such as B-/T cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL). Dox compromises topoisomerase II enzyme functionality, thus inducing structural damages during DNA replication and causes direct damages intercalating into DNA double helix. Eukaryotic cells respond to DNA damages by activating the ATM-CHK2 and/or ATR-CHK1 pathway, whose function is to regulate cell cycle progression, to promote damage repair, and to control apoptosis. We evaluated the efficacy of a new drug schedule combining Dox and specific ATR (VE-821) or CHK1 (prexasertib, PX) inhibitors in the treatment of human B-/T cell precursor ALL cell lines and primary ALL leukemic cells. We found that ALL cell lines respond to Dox activating the G2/M cell cycle checkpoint. Exposure of Dox-pretreated ALL cell lines to VE-821 or PX enhanced Dox cytotoxic effect. This phenomenon was associated with the abrogation of the G2/M cell cycle checkpoint with changes in the expression pCDK1 and cyclin B1, and cell entry in mitosis, followed by the induction of apoptosis. Indeed, the inhibition of the G2/M checkpoint led to a significant increment of normal and aberrant mito...Continue Reading


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