Background Acute myeloid leukemia (AML) is a heterogeneous disease regarding morphology, immunophenotyping, genetic abnormalities, and clinical behavior. The overall survival rate of pediatric AML is 60% to 70%, and has not significantly improved over the past two decades. Children with Down syndrome (DS) are at risk of developing acute megakaryoblastic leukemia (AMKL), which can be preceded by a transient myeloproliferative disorder during the neonatal period. Intensification of current treatment protocols is not feasible due to already high treatment‐related morbidity and mortality. Instead, more targeted therapies with less severe side effects are highly needed.

Procedure To identify potential novel therapeutic targets for myeloid disorders in children, including DS‐AMKL and non‐DS‐AML, we performed an unbiased compound screen of 80 small molecules targeting epigenetic regulators in three pediatric AML cell lines that are representative for different subtypes of pediatric AML. Three candidate compounds were validated and further evaluated in normal myeloid precursor cells during neutrophil differentiation and in (pre‐)leukemic pediatric patient cells.

Results Candidate drugs LMK235, NSC3852, and bromosporine were effective in all tested pediatric AML cell lines with antiproliferative, proapoptotic, and differentiation effects. Out of these three compounds, the pan‐histone deacetylase inhibitor NSC3852 specifically induced growth arrest and apoptosis in pediatric AML cells, without disrupting normal neutrophil differentiation.

Conclusion NSC3852 is a potential candidate drug for further preclinical testing in pediatric AML and DS‐AMKL.

Additional Metadata
Keywords DS-AMKL, epigenetic treatment, HDACi, NSC3852, pediatric AML
Persistent URL,
Series VSNU Open Access deal
Journal Pediatric Blood & Cancer
Note corresponding author at UMC Utrecht
Wiggers, C.R.M., Govers, A., Lelieveld, D., Egan, D.A., Zwaan, C.M, Sonneveld, E, … Bartels, M. (2019). Epigenetic drug screen identifies the histone deacetylase inhibitor NSC3852 as a potential novel drug for the treatment of pediatric acute myeloid leukemia. Pediatric Blood & Cancer, 66(8). doi:10.1002/pbc.27785