A patient with chronic granulocytic leukemia in acute blastic transformation was treated with mithramycin, an RNA synthesis inhibitor, after in vitro exposure of her leukemic cells to mithramycin showed differentiation to normal appearing granulocytes. Mithramycin therapy in vivo resulted in a prompt and dramatic hematologic response. Before therapy, the patient's leukemic cells had high levels of transcription of the cellular myc and abl protooncogenes. After initiation of therapy, protooncogene mRNA decreased rapidly. These observations indicate that mithramycin can induce differentiation both in vitro and in vivo and suggest that such changes may be associated with altered oncogene expression.
C A Koller, V W Campbell, D A Polansky, A Mulhern, D M Miller