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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Inhibition of PDE3B augments PDE4 inhibitor-induced apoptosis in a subset of patients with chronic lymphocytic leukemia.

PURPOSE: cAMP phosphodiesterase (PDE) 4 is a family of enzymes the inhibition of which induces chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) apoptosis. However, leukemic cells from a subset of CLL patients are relatively resistant to treatment with the PDE4 inhibitor rolipram, particularly when this drug is used in the absence of an adenylate cyclase stimulus such as forskolin. Elevated cAMP levels induce compensatory up-regulation of several cyclic nucleotide PDE families in other model systems. We here examine the hypothesis that CLL cells that survive treatment with rolipram do so as a result of residual PDE activity that is not inhibited by this drug. EXPERIMENTAL DESIGN: We examined by Western analysis the effect of rolipram treatment on CLL expression of PDE3B, PDE4A, PDE4B, PDE4D, and PDE7A. We also examined the ability of rolipram (PDE4 inhibitor) or cilostamide (PDE3 inhibitor), alone or together, to induce apoptosis or elevate cyclic AMP in leukemic cells from patients with CLL. RESULTS: Rolipram increased levels of PDE4B and, to a variable extent, PDE4D. When combined with forskolin, rolipram also increased levels of a second family of PDEs, PDE3B. Addition of the specific PDE3 inhibitor, cilostamide, modestly augmented rolipram-induced apoptosis in five of seven "rolipram-resistant" CLL samples. CONCLUSIONS: Although this work confirms that PDE4 appears to be the most important PDE target for induction of apoptosis in CLL, combination therapy with PDE3 and PDE4 inhibitors or use of dual-selective drugs may be of benefit in a subset of relatively PDE4-inhibitor resistant CLL patients.[1]


  1. Inhibition of PDE3B augments PDE4 inhibitor-induced apoptosis in a subset of patients with chronic lymphocytic leukemia. Moon, E., Lee, R., Near, R., Weintraub, L., Wolda, S., Lerner, A. Clin. Cancer Res. (2002) [Pubmed]
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