LW-213, a newly synthesized flavonoid, induces G2/M phase arrest and apoptosis in chronic myeloid leukemia

Authors: Xiao Liu1, Po Hu1, Hui Li1, Xiao-xuan Yu1, Xiang-yuan Wang1, Ying-jie Qing1, Zhan-yu Wang1, Hong-zheng Wang1, Meng-yuan Zhu1, Qing-long Guo1, Hui Hui1
1 State Key Laboratory of Natural Medicines, Jiangsu Key Laboratory of Carcinogenesis and Intervention, China Pharmaceutical University, Nanjing 210009, China
Correspondence to: Qing-long Guo:, Hui Hui:,
DOI: 10.1038/s41401-019-0270-4
Received: 13 March 2019
Accepted: 8 June 2019
Advance online: 17 July 2019


Chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) is a clonal hematopoietic stem cell neoplasm characterized by an uncontrolled proliferation of moderately and well differentiated cells of the granulocytic lineage. LW-213, a newly synthesized flavonoid compound, was found to exert antitumor effects against breast cancer through inducing G2/M phase arrest. We investigated whether LW-213 exerted anti-CML effects and the underlying mechanisms. We showed that LW-213 inhibited the growth of human CML cell lines K562 and imatinid-resistant K562 (K562r) in dose- and time-dependent manners with IC50 values at the low μmol/L levels. LW-213 (5, 10, 15 μM) caused G2/M phase arrest of K562 and K562r cells via reducing the activity of G2/M phase transition-related proteins Cyclin B1/CDC2 complex. LW-213 treatment induced apoptosis of K562 and K562r cells via inhibiting the expression of CDK9 through lysosome degradation, thus leading to the suppression of RNAPII phosphorylation, down-regulation of a short-lived anti-apoptic protein MCL-1. The lysosome inhibitor, NH4Cl, could reverse the anti-CML effects of LW-213 including CDK9 degradation and apoptosis. LW-213 treatment also degraded the downstream proteins of BCR-ABL1, such as oncoproteins AKT, STAT3/5 in CML cells, which was blocked by NH4Cl. In primary CML cells and CD34+ stem cells, LW-213 maintained its pro-apoptotic activity. In a K562 cells-bearing mice model, administration of LW-213 (2.5, 5.0 mg/kg, ip, every other day for 4 weeks) dose-dependently prolonged the survival duration, and significantly suppressed huCD45+ cell infiltration and expression of MCL-1 in spleens. Taken together, our results demonstrate that LW-213 may be an efficient agent for CML treatment.
Keywords: chronic myeloid leukemia; LW-213; G2/M phase arrest; lysosome-dependent apoptosis; CDK9; MCL-1

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