Wnt/β-catenin signaling has been reported in Acute Myeloid leukemia, but little is known about its significance as a prognostic biomarker and drug target. In this study, we first evaluated the correlation between expression levels of Wnt molecules and clinical outcome. Then, we studied—in vitro and in vivo—the anti-leukemic value of combinatorial treatment between Wnt inhibitors and classic anti-leukemia drugs. Higher levels of β-catenin, Ser675-phospho-β-catenin and GSK-3α (total and Ser 9) were found in AML cells from intermediate or poor risk patients; nevertheless, patients presenting high activity of Wnt/β-catenin displayed shorter progression-free survival (PFS) according to univariate analysis. In vitro, many pharmacological inhibitors of Wnt signalling, i.e., LRP6 (Niclosamide), GSK-3 (LiCl, AR-A014418), and TCF/LEF (PNU-74654) but not Porcupine (IWP-2), significantly reduced proliferation and improved the drug sensitivity of AML cells cultured alone or in the presence of bone marrow stromal cells. In vivo, PNU-74654, Niclosamide and LiCl administration significantly reduced the bone marrow leukemic burden acting synergistically with Ara-C, thus improving mouse survival. Overall, our study demonstrates the antileukemic role of Wnt/β-catenin inhibition that may represent a potential new therapeutics strategy in AML.

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doi.org/10.3390/cancers12092696, hdl.handle.net/1765/131325

Kamga, P.T., Dal Collo, G., Cassaro, A., Bazzoni, R., Delfino, P., Adamo, A., … Krampera, M. (2020). Small Molecule Inhibitors of Microenvironmental Wnt/beta-Catenin Signaling Enhance the Chemosensitivity of Acute Myeloid Leukemia. Cancers, 12(9). doi:10.3390/cancers12092696