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Pharmacological and genomic profiling identifies NFκB-targeted treatment strategies for mantle cell lymphoma

Mantle cell lymphoma (MCL) is an aggressive malignancy characterized by poor prognosis, underscoring the need for novel therapeutic strategies1. In this study, we employed large-scale pharmacological profiling of 16 pathway inhibitors across more than 100 hematological cell line models to identify novel therapeutic approaches. This screen identified a subset of MCL cell lines that were highly sensitive to the B-cell receptor (BCR) signaling inhibitors ibrutinib and sotrastaurin (STN), which are currently in clinical trials2, 3. Sensitive MCL models exhibited chronic activation of the CARD11-BCL10-MALT1 (CBM) complex and dependency on downstream classical NFκB signaling. In contrast, insensitive cell lines displayed activation of the alternative NFκB pathway. Massively parallel transcriptome sequencing identified mutations in negative regulators of the alternative NFκB pathway in ibrutinib-insensitive cell lines. Notably, sequencing of 165 MCL patient samples revealed that components of the alternative NFκB pathway, particularly TRAF2 and BIRC3, are mutated in roughly 15% of MCL patients. Functional analyses of patient-derived BIRC3 mutant alleles indicated that these are loss-of-function mutants that constitutively activate alternative NFκB signaling. While being associated with insensitivity to ibrutinib, genetic lesions in the alternative pathway conferred dependence on NIK, a kinase that mediates signaling downstream of the TRAF2/3-BIRC2/3 complex. Thus, NIK represents a novel therapeutic target for MCL treatment, particularly for tumors refractory to BCR pathway inhibitors. Collectively, these findings reveal a pattern of mutually exclusive activation of the CBM-NFκB or alternative NIK-NFκB pathways in MCL and provide critical insights into patient stratification strategies for NFκB-pathway targeted agents.

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Dataset ID Description Technology Samples
EGAD00001000702 190
Publications Citations
Pharmacological and genomic profiling identifies NF-κB-targeted treatment strategies for mantle cell lymphoma.
Nat Med 20: 2014 87-92