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Mol Cancer Ther. 2017 Nov;16(11):2586-2597. doi: 10.1158/1535-7163.MCT-16-0840. Epub 2017 Aug 23.

EZH2 Inhibition by Tazemetostat Results in Altered Dependency on B-cell Activation Signaling in DLBCL.

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Epizyme Inc., Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Epizyme Inc., Cambridge, Massachusetts.


The EZH2 small-molecule inhibitor tazemetostat (EPZ-6438) is currently being evaluated in phase II clinical trials for the treatment of non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL). We have previously shown that EZH2 inhibitors display an antiproliferative effect in multiple preclinical models of NHL, and that models bearing gain-of-function mutations in EZH2 were consistently more sensitive to EZH2 inhibition than lymphomas with wild-type (WT) EZH2 Here, we demonstrate that cell lines bearing EZH2 mutations show a cytotoxic response, while cell lines with WT-EZH2 show a cytostatic response and only tumor growth inhibition without regression in a xenograft model. Previous work has demonstrated that cotreatment with tazemetostat and glucocorticoid receptor agonists lead to a synergistic antiproliferative effect in both mutant and wild-type backgrounds, which may provide clues to the mechanism of action of EZH2 inhibition in WT-EZH2 models. Multiple agents that inhibit the B-cell receptor pathway (e.g., ibrutinib) were found to have synergistic benefit when combined with tazemetostat in both mutant and WT-EZH2 backgrounds of diffuse large B-cell lymphomas (DLBCL). The relationship between B-cell activation and EZH2 inhibition is consistent with the proposed role of EZH2 in B-cell maturation. To further support this, we observe that cell lines treated with tazemetostat show an increase in the B-cell maturation regulator, PRDM1/BLIMP1, and gene signatures corresponding to more advanced stages of maturation. These findings suggest that EZH2 inhibition in both mutant and wild-type backgrounds leads to increased B-cell maturation and a greater dependence on B-cell activation signaling. Mol Cancer Ther; 16(11); 2586-97. ©2017 AACR.

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