Inhibition of bromodomain proteins for the treatment of human diffuse large B-cell lymphoma

Student Author(s)

Sally A. Trabucco

Academic Program

Cancer Biology

UMMS Affiliation

Department of Cell and Developmental Biology; Department of Cancer Biology

Publication Date


Document Type



Cancer Biology | Neoplasms | Oncology


Purpose: Approximately 50% of patients with diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL) enter long-term remission after standard chemotherapy. DLBCL patients who do not respond to chemotherapy have few treatment options. There remains a critical need to identify effective and targeted therapeutics for DLBCL.

Experimental Design: Recent studies have highlighted the incidence of increased c-MYC protein in DLBCL and the correlation between high levels of c-MYC protein and poor survival prognosis of DLBCL patients, suggesting that c-MYC is a compelling target for DLBCL therapy. The small molecule JQ1 suppresses c-MYC expression through inhibition of the bromodomain and extra-terminal (BET) family of bromodomain proteins. We investigated whether JQ1 can inhibit proliferation of DLBCL cells in culture and xenograft models in vivo.

Results: We show that JQ1 at nanomolar concentrations efficiently inhibited proliferation of human DLBCL cells in a dose-dependent manner regardless of their molecular subtypes, suggesting a broad effect of JQ1 in DLBCL. The initial G1 arrest induced by JQ1 treatment in DLBCL cells was followed by either apoptosis or senescence. The expression of c-MYC was suppressed as a result of JQ1 treatment from the natural, chromosomally-translocated or amplified loci. Furthermore, JQ1 treatment significantly suppressed growth of DLBCL cells engrafted in mice and improved survival of engrafted mice.

Conclusion: Our results demonstrate that inhibition of the BET family of bromodomain proteins by JQ1 has potential clinical utility in the treatment of DLBCL.


diffuse large B-cell lymphoma, c-MYC, apoptosis, senescence, JQ1

DOI of Published Version



Trabucco SE, Gerstein RM, Evens AM, Bradner JE, Shultz LD, Greiner DL, Zhang H. Inhibition of bromodomain proteins for the treatment of human diffuse large B-cell lymphoma. Clin Cancer Res. 2014 Jul 9. doi: 10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-13-3346. [Epub ahead of print] Link to article on publisher's website

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Clinical Cancer Research

Related Resources

Link to article in PubMed

PubMed ID