Inhibition of bromodomain proteins for the treatment of human diffuse large B-cell lymphoma.

Sally E Trabucco
Rachel M Gerstein
Andrew M Evens
James E Bradner
Leonard D. Shultz, The Jackson Laboratory
Dale L Greiner
Hong Zhang


Purpose: Approximately 50% of patients with diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL) enter long-term remission after standard chemotherapy. DLBCL patients who do not respond to chemotherapy have few treatment options. There remains a critical need to identify effective and targeted therapeutics for DLBCL. Experimental Design: Recent studies have highlighted the incidence of increased c-MYC protein in DLBCL and the correlation between high levels of c-MYC protein and poor survival prognosis of DLBCL patients, suggesting that c-MYC is a compelling target for DLBCL therapy. The small molecule JQ1 suppresses c-MYC expression through inhibition of the bromodomain and extra-terminal (BET) family of bromodomain proteins. We investigated whether JQ1 can inhibit proliferation of DLBCL cells in culture and xenograft models in vivo. Results: We show that JQ1 at nanomolar concentrations efficiently inhibited proliferation of human DLBCL cells in a dose-dependent manner regardless of their molecular subtypes, suggesting a broad effect of JQ1 in DLBCL. The initial G1 arrest induced by JQ1 treatment in DLBCL cells was followed by either apoptosis or senescence. The expression of c-MYC was suppressed as a result of JQ1 treatment from the natural, chromosomally-translocated or amplified loci. Furthermore, JQ1 treatment significantly suppressed growth of DLBCL cells engrafted in mice and improved survival of engrafted mice. Conclusions: Our results demonstrate that inhibition of the BET family of bromodomain proteins by JQ1 has potential clinical utility in the treatment of DLBCL. Clin Cancer Res 2014 Jul 9. [Epub ahead of print]