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Oncogene. 2007 Aug 23;26(39):5828-32. Epub 2007 Mar 12.

Downregulation of Bfl-1 protein expression sensitizes malignant B cells to apoptosis.

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Inserm, U503, Lyon, F-69007, France.


Elevated expression of the antiapoptotic protein Bfl-1 (A1) was previously reported in several cancer cell lines. Recently, molecular profiling of large B-cell lymphoma identified Bfl-1 as a gene signature in 'OxPhos' diffuse large B-cell lymphoma subtype and in primary mediastinal large B-cell lymphoma, suggesting that in addition to Bcl-2, Bcl-xL and Mcl-1, Bfl-1 may be a relevant target in the design of new strategies for cancer therapy. Using short hairpin RNA strategy, we show here that Bfl-1 silencing in one lymphoblastoid B-cell line and in two diffuse large B-cell lymphoma cell lines potently induces their apoptosis and sensitizes those cell lines to anti-CD20 (Rituximab)-mediated cell death as well as to apoptosis induced by chemotherapeutic molecules such as doxorubicin, vincristine, cisplatin and fludarabine. These results demonstrate for the first time that Bfl-1 is an essential protein for survival of malignant B cells and suggest Bfl-1 may represent a potential target for future drug development against B cell lymphoma.

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