Targeting MYC activity in double-hit lymphoma with MYC and BCL2 and/or BCL6 rearrangements with epigenetic bromodomain inhibitors

Weiping Li, Shiv K. Gupta, Weiguo Han, Ryan A. Kundson, Sara Nelson, Darlene Knutson, Patricia T. Greipp, Sherine F. Elsawa, Eduardo M. Sotomayor, Mamta Gupta

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


Double/triple-hit lymphomas (DHL/THL) account for 5-10% of diffuse large B cell lymphoma (DLBCL) with rearrangement of MYC and BCL2 and/or BCL6 resulting in MYC overexpression. Despite the poor prognosis of DHL, R-CHOP chemotherapy remains the treatment backbone and new targeted therapy is needed. We performed comprehensive cytogenetic studies/fluorescence in situ hybridization on DLBCL and Burkitt lymphoma cell lines (n = 11) to identify the DHL/THL DLBCL in vitro model. We identified MYC/IG in Raji and Ramos (single hit); MYC/IG-BCL2 (DHL) in DOHH2, OCI-LY1, SUDHL2, and OCI-LY10; MYC/IG-BCL2/BCL6 (THL) in VAL; and no MYC rearrangement in U2932 and HBL1 (WT-MYC). Targeting MYC in the DHL/THL DLBCLs through bromodomain extra-terminal inhibitors (BETi) (JQ1, I-BET, and OTX015) significantly (p < 0.05) reduced proliferation, similar to WT-MYC cells, accompanied by decreased MYC but not BCL2 protein. Moreover, BETi suppressed MYC transcription and decreased BRD4 binding to MYC promoter in DHL cells. CD47 and PD-L1 are immunoregulatory molecules often expressed on tumors and regulated by MYC. High levels of surface CD47 but not surface PD-L1 was observed in DHL/THL, which was reduced by JQ1 treatment. BETi in combination with Pan-HDAC inhibitor had a limited effect on survival of DHL/THL, while combination of BETi and BCL2 inhibitor (ABT-199) had a significant (p < 0.005) inhibitory effect on survival followed by BCL-XL inhibition. Overall, the data suggests that MYC-expressing DLBCLs are probably addicted to the MYC-oncogenic effect regardless of MYC rearrangements. In summary, we identified an in vitro model for DHL/THL DLBCLs and provide evidence for the therapeutic potential of BET inhibitor alone or in combination with BCL2 inhibitor.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number73
JournalJournal of Hematology and Oncology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 9 2019


  • BCL2
  • BET bromodomain
  • BRD4
  • Double-hit lymphoma
  • MYC

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Hematology
  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


Dive into the research topics of 'Targeting MYC activity in double-hit lymphoma with MYC and BCL2 and/or BCL6 rearrangements with epigenetic bromodomain inhibitors'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this