AML with TP53 mutations (TP53Mut) is a poor-risk AML subtype that is largely insensitive to chemotherapy, targeted agents, and hematopoietic stem cell transplantation. TP53Muts are seen in approximately 10-20% of AML and confer a particularly poor prognosis with 1–2-year survival rates to 0-10%. Self-renewal is the defining feature of leukemia stem cells (LSCs) and is central to leukemia progression and relapse. Mutant p53 protein enhances self-renewal in murine models of AML and in human hematopoietic progenitors. In solid tumors, analysis of a variety of TP53Muts defined the proteasome pathway as a common transcriptional target and mediator of oncogenesis among these mutations. Notably, the proteasome degrades I kappa B which activates NF kappa B, which enforces AML self-renewal. Proteasome inhibitors have shown some efficacy in AML clinical trials but have not been well-evaluated in TP53Mut patients. We hypothesize that the proteasome is mediator of self-renewal in TP53Mut AML. To define the transcriptional features of TP53Mut AML, we analyzed the gene expression data in the BEAT AML dataset of primary human AML samples (Tyner, et al. 2018). Relative to TP53WT (n=377 samples), the TP53 mutant samples (n=36) were enriched in every NF kappa B and proteasome gene-set queried. Next, we analyzed a single cell RNA seq dataset of human AML samples (van Galen et al. 2019) and found that the LSC compartment of TP53Mut samples (n=3) strongly upregulated every proteasome gene set we queried (relative to TP53WT samples (n=13)). A recent in vitro screen identified a panel of small molecule inhibitors that reduced viability in TP53-deleted cell lines (Nechiporuk et al. 2019). We tested the activity of these inhibitors in primary human TP53Mut samples. Four of these inhibitors were effective in reducing colony forming capacity or reduced LSC frequency in TP53Mut samples (n=9). We used CyTOF to assess intracellular signaling pathways in LSCs and found that the inhibitors that were most effective in abolishing colony formation and reducing LSC frequency also attenuated NF kappa B levels in TP53Mut LSCs. Accordingly, we found that knockdown of mutant TP53 reduced NF kappa B levels in Kasumi cells (a TP53R248Q AML cell line). Next, we treated a panel of primary human TP53Mut AML samples with the pan-proteasome inhibitors, carfilzomib and bortezomib (FDA approved for lymphoid malignancies) and an immunoproteasome inhibitor, PR957 (in clinical trials for autoimmune conditions). Each drug independently reduced NF kappa B and led to a significant reduction of primary and secondary colony formation. These data suggest that the proteasome/NF kappa B pathway may be an important determinant of self-renewal function in TP53Mut AML and proteasome inhibitors may target the LSCs of this treatment-refractory AML subtype.

Citation Format: Marie Lue Antony, Yoonkyu Lee, Klara E Noble-Orcutt, Zohar Sachs. TP53 mutant human AMLs stem cells rely on the proteasome for self-renewal [abstract]. In: Proceedings of the AACR Special Conference: Acute Myeloid Leukemia and Myelodysplastic Syndrome; 2023 Jan 23-25; Austin, TX. Philadelphia (PA): AACR; Blood Cancer Discov 2023;4(3_Suppl):Abstract nr A56.