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Cancer Cell. 2012 Dec 11;22(6):825-37. doi: 10.1016/j.ccr.2012.11.002.

Pharmacologic inhibition of MALT1 protease by phenothiazines as a therapeutic approach for the treatment of aggressive ABC-DLBCL.

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Research Unit Cellular Signal Integration, Helmholtz Zentrum München-German Research Center for Environmental Health, Institute of Molecular Toxicology and Pharmacology, Ingolstädter Landstrasse. 1, 85764 Neuherberg, Germany.


Proteolytic activity of the mucosa-associated lymphoid tissue lymphoma translocation protein-1 (MALT1) paracaspase is required for survival of the activated B cell subtype of diffuse large B cell lymphoma (ABC-DLBCL). We have identified distinct derivatives of medicinal active phenothiazines, namely mepazine, thioridazine, and promazine, as small molecule inhibitors of the MALT1 protease. These phenothiazines selectively inhibit cleavage activity of recombinant and cellular MALT1 by a noncompetitive mechanism. Consequently, the compounds inhibit anti-apoptotic NF-κB signaling and elicit toxic effects selectively on MALT1-dependent ABC-DLBCL cells in vitro and in vivo. Our data provide a conceptual proof for a clinical application of distinct phenothiazines in the treatment of ABC-DLBCL.

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