Successful treatment of human chronic lymphocytic leukemia xenografts with combination biological agents auristatin PE and bryostatin 1

Ramzi M. Mohammad, Mary L. Varterasian, Victor P. Almatchy, Ghadeer N. Hannoudi, George Pettit, Ayad Al-Katib

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53 Scopus citations


We tested the activity of dolastatin 10 (a natural product derived from the shell-less marine mollusk, Dolabella auricularia, a sea hare) and its structural modification, auristatin PE, alone and in combination with bryostatin 1 (a protein kinase C activator derived from the marine bryozoan Bugula neritina) on a human B-cell chronic lymphocytic leukemia cell line (WSU-CLL) and in a severe combined immune deficient (SCID) mouse xenograft model bearing this cell line. WSU-CLL cells were cultured in RPMI 1640 at a concentration of 2 x 105/ml using a 24-well plate. Agents were added to triplicate wells, and cell count, viability, mitosis, and apoptosis were assessed after 24 h of incubation at 37°C. Results showed that dolastatin 10 had no apparent inhibition of cell growth at concentrations less than 500 pg/ml. Auristatin PE, on the other hand, showed significant growth inhibition at concentrations as low as 50 pg/ml. Auristatin PE-treated cultures, at this concentration, exhibited 27 and 4.5% mitosis and apoptosis, respectively. Dolastatin 10, at the same concentration, did not exert any effect and was comparable with that of control cultures. In the WSU-CLL-SCID mouse xenograft model, the efficacy of these agents alone and in combination with bryostatin 1 was evaluated. Tumor growth inhibition (T/C), tumor growth delay (T-C), and log10 kill for dolastatin 10, auristatin PE, and bryostatin 1 were 14%, 25 days, and 1.98; 2%, 25 days, and 1.98; 19%, 13 days, and 1.03, respectively. Auristatin-PE produced cure in three of five mice, whereas dolastatin 10 showed activity but no cures. When given in combination, auristatin PE + bryostatin 1-treated animals were all free of tumors (five of five) for 150 days and were considered cured. Dolastatin 10 + bryostatin 1-treated animals produced cure in only two of five mice. We conclude that: (a) auristatin-PE is more effective in this model than dolastatin 10; (b) auristatin PE can be administered at a concentration 10 times greater than dolastatin 10; (c) there is a synergetic effect between these agents and bryostatin 1, which is more apparent in the bryostatin 1 + auristatin PE combination. The use of these agents should be explored clinically in the treatment of CLL.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1337-1343
Number of pages7
JournalClinical Cancer Research
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1998

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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