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Dual targeting of BCL2 and MCL1 rescues myeloma cells resistant to BCL2 and MCL1 inhibitors associated with the formation of BAX/ BAK hetero-complexes

Abstract : Multiple myeloma is a plasma cell malignancy that escapes from apoptosis by heterogeneously over-expressing anti-apoptotic BCL2 proteins. Myeloma cells with a t(11;14) translocation present a particular vulnerability to BCL2 inhibition while a majority of myeloma cells relies on MCL1 for survival. The present study aimed to determine whether the combination of BCL2 and MCL1 inhibitors at low doses could be of benefit for myeloma cells beyond the single selective inhibition of BCL2 or MCL1. We identified that half of patients were not efficiently targeted neither by BCL2 inhibitor nor MCL1 inhibitor. Seventy percent of these myeloma samples, either from patients at diagnosis or relapse, presented a marked increase of apoptosis upon low dose combination of both inhibitors. Interestingly, primary cells from a patient in progression under venetoclax treatment were not sensitive ex vivo to neither venetoclax nor to MCL1 inhibitor, whereas the combination of both efficiently induced cell death. This finding suggests that the combination could overcome venetoclax resistance. The efficacy of the combination was also confirmed in U266 xenograft model resistant to BCL2 and MCL1 inhibitors. Mechanistically, we demonstrated that the combination of both inhibitors favors apoptosis in a BAX/BAK dependent manner. We showed that activated BAX was readily increased upon the inhibitor combination leading to the formation of BAK/BAX hetero-complexes. We found that BCLXL remains a major resistant factor of cell death induced by this combination. The present study supports a rational for the clinical use of venetoclax/S63845 combination in myeloma patients with the potential to elicit significant clinical activity when both single inhibitors would not be effective but also to overcome developed in vivo venetoclax resistance.
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Submitted on : Tuesday, May 5, 2020 - 1:50:17 PM
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Carolane Seiller, Sophie Maiga, Cyrille Touzeau, Céline Bellanger, Charlotte Kervoëlen, et al.. Dual targeting of BCL2 and MCL1 rescues myeloma cells resistant to BCL2 and MCL1 inhibitors associated with the formation of BAX/ BAK hetero-complexes. Cell Death and Disease, Nature Publishing Group, 2020, 11, pp.316. ⟨10.1038/s41419-020-2505-1⟩. ⟨inserm-02563554⟩



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