[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Earlier work demonstrated that the transcription factor C/EBPα can convert immature and mature murine B lineage cells into functional macrophages. Testing >20 human lymphoma and leukemia B cell lines, we found that most can be transdifferentiated at least partially into macrophage-like cells, provided that C/EBPα is expressed at sufficiently high levels. A tamoxifen-inducible subclone of the Seraphina Burkitt lymphoma line, expressing C/EBPαER, could be efficiently converted into phagocytic and quiescent cells with a transcriptome resembling normal macrophages. The converted cells retained their phenotype even when C/EBPα was inactivated, a hallmark of cell reprogramming. Interestingly, C/EBPα induction also impaired the cells' tumorigenicity. Likewise, C/EBPα efficiently converted a lymphoblastic leukemia B cell line into macrophage-like cells, again dramatically impairing their tumorigenicity. Our experiments show that human cancer cells can be induced by C/EBPα to transdifferentiate into seemingly normal cells at high frequencies and provide a proof of principle for a potential new therapeutic strategy for treating B cell malignancies.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The chromosomal translocation t(11;14)(q13;q32) leading to cyclin-D1 overexpression plays an essential role in the development of mantle cell lymphoma (MCL), an aggressive tumor that remains incurable with current treatment strategies. Cyclin-D1 has been postulated as an effective therapeutic target, but the evaluation of this target has been hampered by our incomplete understanding of its oncogenic functions and by the lack of valid MCL murine models. To address these issues, we generated a cyclin-D1-driven mouse model in which cyclin-D1 expression can be regulated externally. These mice developed cyclin-D1-expressing lymphomas capable of recapitulating features of human MCL. We found that cyclin-D1 inactivation was not sufficient to induce lymphoma regression in vivo; however, using a combination of in vitro and in vivo assays, we identified a novel prosurvival cyclin-D1 function in MCL cells. Specifically, we found that cyclin-D1, besides increasing cell proliferation through deregulation of the cell cycle at the G(1)-S transition, sequestrates the proapoptotic protein BAX in the cytoplasm, thereby favoring BCL2's antiapoptotic function. Accordingly, cyclin-D1 inhibition sensitized the lymphoma cells to apoptosis through BAX release. Thus, genetic or pharmacologic targeting of cyclin-D1 combined with a proapoptotic BH3 mimetic synergistically killed the cyclin-D1-expressing murine lymphomas, human MCL cell lines, and primary lymphoma cells. Our study identifies a role of cyclin-D1 in deregulating apoptosis in MCL cells, and highlights the potential benefit of simultaneously targeting cyclin-D1 and survival pathways in patients with MCL. This effective combination therapy also might be exploited in other cyclin-D1-expressing tumors.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 07/2011; 108(30):12461-6. DOI:10.1073/pnas.1018941108 · 9.67 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In Burkitt lymphoma/leukemia (BL), achievement of complete remission with first-line chemotherapy remains a challenging issue, as most patients who respond remain disease-free, whereas those refractory have few options of being rescued with salvage therapies. The mechanisms underlying BL chemoresistance and how it can be circumvented remain undetermined. We previously reported the frequent inactivation of the proapoptotic BIM gene in B-cell lymphomas. Here we show that BIM epigenetic silencing by concurrent promoter hypermethylation and deacetylation occurs frequently in primary BL samples and BL-derived cell lines. Remarkably, patients with BL with hypermethylated BIM presented lower complete remission rate (24% vs 79%; P = .002) and shorter overall survival (P = .007) than those with BIM-expressing lymphomas, indicating that BIM transcriptional repression may mediate tumor chemoresistance. Accordingly, by combining in vitro and in vivo studies of human BL-xenografts grown in immunodeficient RAG2(-/-)γc(-/-) mice and of murine B220(+)IgM(+) B-cell lymphomas generated in Eμ-MYC and Eμ-MYC-BIM(+/-) transgenes, we demonstrate that lymphoma chemoresistance is dictated by BIM gene dosage and is reversible on BIM reactivation by genetic manipulation or after treatment with histone-deacetylase inhibitors. We suggest that the combination of histone-deacetylase inhibitors and high-dose chemotherapy may overcome chemoresistance, achieve durable remission, and improve survival of patients with BL.