Keith Woodley, Laura S. Dillingh, George Giotopoulos, Pedro Madrigal, Kevin M. Rattigan, Céline Philippe, Vilma Dembitz, Aoife M. S. Magee, Ryan Asby, Louie N. van de Lagemaat, Christopher Mapperley, Sophie C. James, Jochen H. M. Prehn, Konstantinos Tzelepis, Kevin Rouault-Pierre, George S. Vassiliou, Kamil R. Kranc, G. Vignir Helgason, Brian J. P. Huntly, Paolo Gallipoli
Resistance to standard and novel therapies remains the main obstacle to cure in acute myeloid leukaemia (AML) and is often driven by metabolic adaptations which are therapeutically actionable. Here we identify inhibition of mannose-6-phosphate isomerase (MPI), the first enzyme in the mannose metabolism pathway, as a sensitizer to both cytarabine and FLT3 inhibitors across multiple AML models. Mechanistically, we identify a connection between mannose metabolism and fatty acid metabolism, that is mediated via preferential activation of the ATF6 arm of the unfolded protein response (UPR). This in turn leads to cellular accumulation of polyunsaturated fatty acids, lipid peroxidation and ferroptotic cell death in AML cells. Our findings provide further support to the role of rewired metabolism in AML therapy resistance, unveil a connection between two apparently independent metabolic pathways and support further efforts to achieve eradication of therapy-resistant AML cells by sensitizing them to ferroptotic cell death.