It is well known that the differentiation of acute promyelocytic leukaemia (APL) cells by all-trans-retinoic acid (ATRA) may be enhanced by myeloid growth factors, but the requirement for growth factors in this process is unclear. Our previous studies in multiple myeloma and non-APL acute myeloid leukaemia demonstrated that lineage-specific growth factors are required for the maximal activity of many pharmacologic differentiating agents in vitro. Thus, we studied whether the differentiation of APL is similarly dependent on growth factors. We found that the myeloid growth factors granulocyte colony-stimulating factor or granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor markedly increased the differentiation of NB4 cells or APL blasts from clinical samples treated with ATRA, arsenic trioxide (ATO), or bryostatin-1 as evidenced by the enhanced expression of myeloid surface antigens and the inhibition of clonogenic growth. Furthermore, myeloid growth factors were necessary for the differentiation of APL cells since the activity of each pharmacologic agent could be blocked by specific growth factor-neutralizing antibodies. Each differentiating agent was active only at concentrations that inhibited cell cycling, suggesting that this property is also required for differentiation. These data demonstrate that both pharmacologic differentiating agents and myeloid growth factors are required, but neither sufficient, for the differentiation of APL cells. The combined use of pharmacologic differentiating agents and growth factors may improve the clinical efficacy of differentiation therapy in APL.
- All-trans-retinoic acid
- Cell cycle
- Granulocyte colony-stimulating factor
ASJC Scopus subject areas