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Blood Cancer J. 2015 Nov 13;5:e368. doi: 10.1038/bcj.2015.88.

Loss in MCL-1 function sensitizes non-Hodgkin's lymphoma cell lines to the BCL-2-selective inhibitor venetoclax (ABT-199).

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Oncology Discovery, AbbVie Inc., North Chicago, IL, USA.
Abbott Molecular, Des Plaines, IL, USA.
Oncology Development, AbbVie Inc., North Chicago, IL, USA.


As a population, non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (NHL) cell lines positive for the t(14;18) translocation and/or possessing elevated BCL2 copy number (CN; BCL2(High)) are exquisitely sensitive to navitoclax or the B-cell lymphoma protein-2 (BCL-2)-selective inhibitor venetoclax. Despite this, some BCL2(High) cell lines remain resistant to either agent. Here we show that the MCL-1-specific inhibitor A-1210477 sensitizes these cell lines to navitoclax. Chemical segregation of this synergy with the BCL-2-selective inhibitor venetoclax or BCL-XL-selective inhibitor A-1155463 indicated that MCL-1 and BCL-2 are the two key anti-apoptotic targets for sensitization. Similarly, the CDK inhibitor flavopiridol downregulated MCL-1 expression and synergized with venetoclax in BCL2(High) NHL cell lines to a similar extent as A-1210477. A-1210477 also synergized with navitoclax in the majority of BCL2(Low) NHL cell lines. However, chemical segregation with venetoclax or A-1155463 revealed that synergy was driven by BCL-XL inhibition in this population. Collectively these data emphasize that BCL2 status is predictive of venetoclax potency in NHL not only as a single agent, but also in the adjuvant setting with anti-tumorigenic agents that inhibit MCL-1 function. These studies also potentially identify a patient population (BCL2(Low)) that could benefit from BCL-XL (navitoclax)-driven combination therapy.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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