Pharmacological inhibition of NT5C2 reverses genetic and non-genetic drivers of 6-MP resistance in acute lymphoblastic leukemia.

Publication Type:

Journal Article


Cancer Discov (2022)


<p>Low intensity maintenance therapy with 6-mercaptopurine (6-MP) limits the occurrence of acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) relapse and is central to the success of multi-agent chemotherapy protocols. Activating mutations in the cytosolic 5&#39; nucleotidase II (NT5C2) gene drive resistance to 6-MP in over 35% of early relapse ALL cases. Here we identify CRCD2 as a first-in-class small molecule NT5C2 nucleotidase inhibitor broadly active against leukemias bearing highly prevalent relapse-associated mutant forms of NT5C2 in vitro and in vivo. Importantly, CRCD2 treatment also enhanced the cytotoxic activity of 6-MP in NT5C2 wild type leukemias leading to the identification of NT5C2 S502 phosphorylation as a novel NT5C2-mediated mechanism of 6-MP resistance in this disease. These results uncover an unanticipated role of non-genetic NT5C2 activation as a driver of 6-MP resistance in ALL and demonstrate the potential of NT5C2 inhibitor therapy for enhancing the efficacy of thiopurine maintenance therapy and overcoming resistance at relapse.</p>