Refractory disease is a major challenge in treating patients with acute myeloid leukemia (AML). Whereas the armamentarium has expanded in the past few years for treating AML, long-term survival outcomes have yet to be proven. To further expand the arsenal for treating AML, we searched for druggable gene targets in AML by analyzing screening data from a lentiviral-based genome-wide pooled CRISPR-Cas9 library and gene knockout (KO) dependency scores in 15 AML cell lines (HEL, MV411, OCIAML2, THP1, NOMO1, EOL1, KASUMI1, NB4, OCIAML3, MOLM13, TF1, U937, F36P, AML193, P31FUJ). Ninety-four gene KOs met the criteria of (A) specifically essential to AML cell survival, (B) non-essential in non-AML cells, and (C) druggable according to three-dimensional (3D) modeling or ligand-based druggability scoring. Forty-four of 94 gene-KOs (47%) had an already-approved drug match and comprised a drug development list termed “deKO.” Fifty of 94 gene-KOs (53%) had no drug in development and comprised a drug discovery list termed “disKO.” STRING analysis and gene ontology categorization of the disKO targets preferentially cluster in the metabolic processes of UMP biosynthesis, IMP biosynthesis, dihydrofolate metabolism, pyrimidine nucleobase biosynthesis, vitellogenesis, and regulation of T cell differentiation and hematopoiesis. Results from this study serve as a testable compendium of AML drug targets that, after validation, may be translated into new therapeutics.
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