Combination Therapy Targeting Ribosome Biogenesis and mRNA Translation Synergistically Extends Survival in MYC-Driven Lymphoma

Jennifer R Devlin, Katherine M Hannan, Nadine Hein, Carleen M Cullinane, Eric P Kusnadi, Pui Yee Ng, Amee J George, Jake Shortt, Megan J Bywater, Gretchen Poortinga, Elaine Sanij, Jian Kang, Denis J Drygin, Sean E O'Brien, Ricky W Johnstone, Grant A McArthur, Ross D Hannan, Richard B Pearson

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56 Citations (Scopus)


Ribosome biogenesis and protein synthesis are dysregulated in many cancers, with those driven by the proto-oncogene c-MYC characterized by elevated Pol I-mediated ribosomal rDNA transcription and mTORC1/eIF4E-driven mRNA translation. Here, we demonstrate that coordinated targeting of rDNA transcription and PI3K-AKT-mTORC1-dependent ribosome biogenesis and protein synthesis provides a remarkable improvement in survival in MYC-driven B lymphoma. Combining an inhibitor of rDNA transcription (CX-5461) with the mTORC1 inhibitor everolimus more than doubled survival of Emu-Myc lymphoma-bearing mice. The ability of each agent to trigger tumor cell death via independent pathways was central to their synergistic efficacy. CX-5461 induced nucleolar stress and p53 pathway activation, whereas everolimus induced expression of the proapoptotic protein BMF that was independent of p53 and reduced expression of RPL11 and RPL5. Thus, targeting the network controlling the synthesis and function of ribosomes at multiple points provides a potential new strategy to treat MYC-driven malignancies. SIGNIFICANCE: Treatment options for the high proportion of cancers driven by MYC are limited. We demonstrate that combining pharmacologic targeting of ribosome biogenesis and mTORC1-dependent translation provides a remarkable therapeutic benefit to Emu-Myc lymphoma-bearing mice. These results establish a rationale for targeting ribosome biogenesis and function to treat MYC-driven cancer. Cancer Discov; 6(1); 59-70. (c)2015 AACR.This article is highlighted in the In This Issue feature, p. 1.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)59-70
Number of pages12
JournalCancer Discovery
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2016

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