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Br J Haematol. 2006 Sep;134(5):475-84.

Mammalian target of rapamycin inhibition induces cell cycle arrest in diffuse large B cell lymphoma (DLBCL) cells and sensitises DLBCL cells to rituximab.

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IIIrd Department of Medicine, Technical University of Munich, Munich, Germany.


Diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL) is a common lymphoma entity. Although a significant amount of DLBCL patients can be cured with modern chemotherapeutic regimens, a substantial proportion of patients die because of progressive disease. Therefore, new therapeutic strategies are clearly needed. Inhibitors of mTOR [mammalian target of rapamycin (Rap)] represent a new class of antiproliferative drugs with applications as immunosuppressive and anticancer agents. Extensive safety data exist on the mTOR inhibitor RAD001, which is already approved as an immunosuppressant in organ transplant recipients. Rap and RAD001 inhibited cell cycle progression in DLBCL cells by inducing a G1 arrest without inducing apoptosis. Phosphorylation of the main targets of mTOR, p70 s6 kinase and 4-EBP-1 was reduced in cells cultured in the presence of RAD001. Cell cycle arrest was accompanied by reduced phosphorylation of the retinoblastoma protein (RB) as well as reduced expression of cyclin D3 and A in all cell lines. Although the effect of the chemotherapeutic agent vincristine (vin) was not enhanced by RAD001, rituximab-induced cytotoxicity was augmented in the rituximab-sensitive cell lines. mTOR inhibition is a promising therapeutic strategy in DLBCL by inducing a G1 arrest and augments rituximab-induced cytotoxicity. Therefore, combination of these drugs might be an interesting new therapeutic approach in DLBCL patients.

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