The RAS/RAF/MEK/ERK signaling pathway has been largely unexplored as a potential therapeutic target in lymphoma. The novel 2nd generation anti-MEK small molecule, AZD6244, down-regulated its direct downstream target, phospho-ERK (pERK) in germinal center and nongerminal center diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL) cell lines and primary cells. Similar decreased pERK levels were noted despite constitutive activation (CA) of MEK. Consequently, several lymphoma-related ERK substrates were down-regulated by AZD6244 including MCT-1, c-Myc, Bcl-2, Mcl-1, and CDK1/2. AZD6244 induced time- and dose-dependent antiproliferation and apoptosis in all DLBCL cell lines and fresh/primary cells (IC50 100nM-300nM). Furthermore, AZD6244 resulted in significantly less tumor compared with control in an in vivo DLBCL SCID xenograft model. Cell death was associated with cleaved PARP, caspases-8, -9, and -3, and apoptosis was caspase-dependent. In addition, there was stabilization of FoxO3a, activation of BIM and PUMA, and a significant decrease in c-Myc transcripts. Moreover, siRNA knockdown of BIM abrogated AZD6244-related apoptosis, while shRNAknockdown of ERK minimally sensitized cells. Finally, manipulation of AKT with transfection of OCI-LY3 cells with CA-AKT or through chemical inhibition (LY294002) had minimal effect on AZD6244-induced cell death. Altogether, these findings show that the novel anti-MEK agent, AZD6244, induced apoptosis in DLBCL and that cell death was BIM-dependent.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cell Biology