Abnormal dopamine receptor signaling allows selective therapeutic targeting of neoplastic progenitors in AML patients Journal Articles uri icon

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  • The aberrant expression of dopamine receptors (DRDs) in acute myeloid leukemia (AML) cells has encouraged the repurposing of DRD antagonists such as thioridazine (TDZ) as anti-leukemic agents. Here, we access patient cells from a Phase I dose escalation trial to resolve the cellular and molecular bases of response to TDZ, and we extend these findings to an additional independent cohort of AML patient samples tested preclinically. We reveal that in DRD2+ AML patients, DRD signaling in leukemic progenitors provides leukemia-exclusive networks of sensitivity that spare healthy hematopoiesis. AML progenitor cell suppression can be increased by the isolation of the positive enantiomer from the racemic TDZ mixture (TDZ+), and this is accompanied by reduced cardiac liability. Our study indicates that the development of DRD-directed therapies provides a targeting strategy for a subset of AML patients and potentially other cancers that acquire DRD expression upon transformation from healthy tissue.


  • Aslostovar, Lili
  • Boyd, Allison L
  • Benoit, Yannick D
  • Di Lu, Justin
  • Garcia Rodriguez, Juan Luis
  • Nakanishi, Mio
  • Porras, Deanna P
  • Reid, Jennifer C
  • Mitchell, Ryan R
  • Leber, Brian
  • Xenocostas, Anargyros
  • Foley, Ronan
  • Bhatia, Mick

publication date

  • February 2021