FBXO10 deficiency and BTK activation upregulate BCL2 expression in mantle cell lymphoma

Y. Li, M. N. Bouchlaka, J. Wolff, K. M. Grindle, L. Lu, S. Qian, X. Zhong, N. Pflum, P. Jobin, B. S. Kahl, J. C. Eickhoff, S. M. Wuerzberger-Davis, S. Miyamoto, C. J. Thomas, D. T. Yang, C. M. Capitini, L. Rui

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

53 Scopus citations


Targeting Bruton tyrosine kinase (BTK) by ibrutinib is an effective treatment for patients with relapsed/refractory mantle cell lymphoma (MCL). However, both primary and acquired resistance to ibrutinib have developed in a significant number of these patients. A combinatory strategy targeting multiple oncogenic pathways is critical to enhance the efficacy of ibrutinib. Here, we focus on the BCL2 anti-apoptotic pathway. In a tissue microarray of 62 MCL samples, BCL2 expression positively correlated with BTK expression. Increased levels of BCL2 were shown to be due to a defect in protein degradation because of no or little expression of the E3 ubiquitin ligase FBXO10, as well as transcriptional upregulation through BTK-mediated canonical nuclear factor-κB activation. RNA-seq analysis confirmed that a set of anti-apoptotic genes (for example, BCL2, BCL-XL and DAD1) was downregulated by BTK short hairpin RNA. The downregulated genes also included those that are critical for B-cell growth and proliferation, such as BCL6, MYC, PIK3CA and BAFF-R. Targeting BCL2 by the specific inhibitor ABT-199 synergized with ibrutinib in inhibiting growth of both ibrutinib-sensitive and-resistant cancer cells in vitro and in vivo. These results suggest co-targeting of BTK and BCL2 as a new therapeutic strategy in MCL, especially for patients with primary resistance to ibrutinib.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6223-6234
Number of pages12
Issue number48
StatePublished - Dec 1 2016


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