A small molecule inhibitor of Pim protein kinases blocks the growth of precursor T-cell lymphoblastic leukemia/lymphoma

Ying Wei Lin, Zanna M. Beharry, Elizabeth G. Hill, Jin H. Song, Wenxue Wang, Zuping Xia, Zhenhua Zhang, Peter D. Aplan, Jon C. Aster, Charles D. Smith, Andrew S. Kraft

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

115 Scopus citations


The serine/threonine Pim kinases are upregulated in specific hematologic neoplasms, and play an important role in key signal transduction pathways, including those regulated by MYC, MYCN, FLT3-ITD, BCR-ABL, HOXA9, and EWS fusions. We demonstrate that SMI-4a, a novel benzylidene-thiazolidine-2, 4-dione small molecule inhibitor of the Pim kinases, kills a wide range of both myeloid and lymphoid cell lines with precursor T-cell lymphoblastic leukemia/lymphoma (pre - T-LBL/T-ALL) being highly sensitive. Incubation of pre - T-LBL cells with SMI-4a induced G1 phase cell-cycle arrest secondary to a dose-dependent induction of p27Kip1, apoptosis through the mitochondrial pathway, and inhibition of the mammalian target of rapamycin C1 (mTORC1) pathway based on decreases in phosphop70 S6K and phospho-4E-BP1, 2 substrates of this enzyme. In addition, treatment of these cells with SMI-4a was found to induce phosphorylation of extracellular signal-related kinase1/2 (ERK1/2), and the combination of SMI-4a and a mitogenactivated protein kinase kinase 1/2 (MEK1/2) inhibitor was highly synergistic in killing pre - T-LBL cells. In immunodeficient mice carrying subcutaneous pre - T-LBL tumors, treatment twice daily with SMI-4a caused a significant delay in the tumor growth without any change in the weight, blood counts, or chemistries. Our data suggest that inhibition of the Pim protein kinases may be developed as a therapeutic strategy for the treatment of pre - T-LBL.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)824-833
Number of pages10
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jan 28 2010

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Immunology
  • Hematology
  • Cell Biology


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