The role of exosomes and MYC in therapy resistance of acute myeloid leukemia: Challenges and opportunities

Nithya Mudgapalli, Palanisamy Nallasamy, Haritha Chava, Srinivas Chava, Anup S. Pathania, Venugopal Gunda, Santhi Gorantla, Manoj K. Pandey, Subash C. Gupta, Kishore B. Challagundla

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


Acute myeloid leukemia (AML) is caused by abnormal production of white blood cells, red blood cells or platelets. The leukemia cells communicate with their microenvironment through nano-vesicle exosomes that are 30–100 nm in diameter. These nano-vesicles are released from body fluids upon fusion of an endocytic compartment with the cell membrane. Exosomes function as cargo to deliver signaling molecules to distant cells. This allows cross-talk between hematopoietic cells and other distant target cell environments. Exosomes support leukemia growth by acting as messengers between tumor cells and the microenvironment as well as inducing oncogenic factors such as c-Myc. Exosomes have also been used as biomarkers in the clinical diagnosis of leukemia. Glycogen synthase kinase-3 (GSK-3) and protein phosphatase 2A (PP2A) are two crucial signaling molecules involved in the AML pathogenesis and MYC stability. GSK-3 is a serine/threonine protein kinase that coordinates with over 40 different proteins during physiological/pathological conditions in blood cells. The dysregulation in GSK-3 has been reported during hematological malignancies. GSK-3 acts as a tumor suppressor by targeting c-MYC, MCL-1 and β-catenin. Conversely, GSK-3 can also act as tumor promoter in some instances. The pharmacological modulators of GSK-3 such as ABT-869, 6-Bromoindirubin-3′-oxime (BIO), GS-87 and LY2090314 have shown promise in the treatment of hematological malignancy. PP2A is a heterotrimeric serine/threonine phosphatase involved in the regulation of hematological malignancy. PP2A-activating drugs (PADs) can effectively antagonize leukemogenesis. The discovery of exosomes, kinase inhibitors and phosphatase activators have provided new hope to the leukemia patients. This review discusses the role of exosomes, GSK-3 and PP2A in the pathogenesis of leukemia. We provide evidence from both preclinical and clinical studies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)21-32
Number of pages12
JournalMolecular Aspects of Medicine
StatePublished - Dec 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Medicine
  • Molecular Biology
  • Clinical Biochemistry


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