Hayashi Y, Goyama S, Liu X, Tamura M, Asada S, Tanaka Y, Fukuyama T, Wunderlich M, O'Brien E, Mizukawa B, Yamazaki S, Matsumoto A, Yamasaki S, Shibata T, Matsuda K, Sashida G, Takizawa H, Kitamura T.
The negative regulator of p53, MDM2, is frequently overexpressed in acute myeloid leukemia (AML) that retains wild-type TP53 alleles. Targeting of p53-MDM2 interaction to reactivate p53 function is therefore an attractive therapeutic approach for AML. Here we show that an orally active inhibitor of p53-MDM2 interaction, DS-5272, causes dramatic tumor regressions of MLL-AF9-driven AML in vivo with a tolerable toxicity. However, the antileukemia effect of DS-5272 is markedly attenuated in immunodeficient mice, indicating the critical impact of systemic immune responses that drive p53-mediated leukemia suppression. In relation to this, DS-5272 triggers immune-inflammatory responses in MLL-AF9 cells including upregulation of Hif1α and PD-L1, and inhibition of the Hif1α-PD-L1 axis sensitizes AML cells to p53 activation. We also found that NK cells are important mediators of antileukemia immunity. Our study showed the potent activity of a p53-activating drug against AML, which is further augmented by antitumor immunity.