Mouse models of chronic myeloid malignancies suggest that targeting mature cells of the malignant clone disrupts feedback loops that promote disease expansion. Here, we show that in chronic myelomonocytic leukemia (CMML), monocytes that accumulate in the peripheral blood show a decreased propensity to die by apoptosis. BH3 profiling demonstrates their addiction to myeloid cell leukemia-1 (MCL1), which can be targeted with the small molecule inhibitor S63845. RNA sequencing and DNA methylation pattern analysis both point to the implication of the mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) pathway in the resistance of CMML monocytes to death and reveal an autocrine pathway in which the secreted cytokine-like protein 1 (CYTL1) promotes extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) activation through C-C chemokine receptor type 2 (CCR2). Combined MAPK and MCL1 inhibition restores apoptosis of monocytes from patients with CMML and reduces the expansion of patient-derived xenografts in mice. These results show that the combined inhibition of MCL1 and MAPK is a promising approach to slow down CMML progression by inducing leukemic monocyte apoptosis.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cell Biology