l-Asparaginase-mediated downregulation of c-Myc promotes 1,25(OH)2D3-induced myeloid differentiation in acute myeloid leukemia cells

Ju Han Song, Eunchong Park, Myun Soo Kim, Kyung Min Cho, Su Ho Park, Arim Lee, Jiseon Song, Hyeoung Joon Kim, Jeong Tae Koh, Tae Sung Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


Treatment of acute myeloid leukemia (AML) largely depends on chemotherapy, but current regimens have been unsatisfactory for long-term remission. Although differentiation induction therapy utilizing 1,25(OH)2D3 (VD3) has shown great promise for the improvement of AML treatment efficacy, severe side effects caused by its supraphysiological dose limit its clinical application. Here we investigated the combinatorial effect of l-asparaginase (ASNase)-mediated amino acid depletion and the latent alternation of VD3 activity on the induction of myeloid differentiation. ASNase treatment enhanced VD3-driven phenotypic and functional differentiation of three-different AML cell lines into monocyte/macrophages, along with c-Myc downregulation. Using gene silencing with shRNA and a chemical blocker, we found that reduced c-Myc is a critical factor for improving VD3 efficacy. c-Myc-dependent inhibition of mTORC1 signaling and induction of autophagy were involved in the enhanced AML cell differentiation. In addition, in a postculture of AML cells after each treatment, ASNase supports the antileukemic effect of VD3 by inhibiting cell growth and inducing apoptosis. Finally, we confirmed that the administration of ASNase significantly improved VD3 efficacy in the prolongation of survival time in mice bearing tumor xenograft. Our results are the first to demonstrate the extended application of ASNase, which is currently used for acute lymphoid leukemia, in VD3-mediated differentiation induction therapy for AML, and suggest that this drug combination may be a promising novel strategy for curing AML.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2364-2374
Number of pages11
JournalInternational Journal of Cancer
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 2017 May 15

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the Research and Development Convergence Center Support Program of the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, Republic of Korea (to T.S. Kim), and by a Korea University grant.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 UICC


  • 1,25(OH)D
  • acute myeloid leukemia
  • autophagy
  • c-Myc
  • l-asparaginase
  • mTORC1
  • myeloid differentiation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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