Myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS) are a diverse group of malignant clonal hematopoietic stem cell disorders characterized by ineffective hematopoiesis, dysplastic cell morphology in one or more hematopoietic lineages, and a risk of progression to acute myeloid leukemia (AML). Approximately 50% of MDS patients respond to current FDA-approved drug therapies but a majority of responders relapse within 2-3 years. There is therefore a compelling need to identify potential new therapies for MDS treatment. We utilized the MDS-L cell line to investigate the anticancer potential and mechanisms of action of a plant-derived compound, Withaferin A (WFA), in MDS. WFA was potently cytotoxic to MDS-L cells but had no significant effect on the viability of normal human primary bone marrow cells. WFA also significantly reduced engraftment of MDS-L cells in a xenotransplantation model. Through transcriptome analysis, we identified reactive oxygen species (ROS)-activated JNK/AP-1 signaling as a major pathway mediating apoptosis of MDS-L cells by WFA. We conclude that the molecular mechanism mediating selective cytotoxicity of WFA on MDS-L cells is strongly associated with induction of ROS. Therefore, pharmacologic manipulation of redox biology could be exploited as a selective therapeutic target in MDS.

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Published in Oncotargert, v. 8, no. 44, p. 77436-77452.

Copyright: Oben et al.

This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License 3.0 (CC BY 3.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

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This work was supported by grants from the Edward P. Evan's Foundation; National Institutes of Health [#RO1 CA165469]; University of Kentucky COBRE Early Career Program (P20 GM103527); the flow cytometry and cell sorting, and the biostatistics and bioinformatics shared resources of the University Kentucky Markey Cancer Center (P30CA177558).

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