A model of sensitivity and resistance to histone deacetylase inhibitors in diffuse large B cell lymphoma: Role of cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitors

Ana A. Tula-Sanchez, Aaron P. Havas, Peter J. Alonge, Mary E. Klein, Samantha R. Doctor, William Pinkston, Betty J. Glinsmann-Gibson, Lisa M. Rimsza, Catharine L. Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

11 Scopus citations


Diffuse large B cell lymphoma (DLBCL) is an aggressive form of non-Hodgkin lymphoma. While the initial treatment strategy is highly effective, relapse occurs in 40% of cases. Histone deacetylase inhibitors (HDAC i) are a promising class of anti-cancer drugs but their single agent efficacy against relapsed DLBCL has been variable, ranging from few complete/partial responses to some stable disease. However, most patients showed no response to HDAC i monotherapy for unknown reasons. Here we show that sensitivity and resistance to the hydroxamate HDAC i, PXD101, can be modeled in DLBCL cell lines. Sensitivity is characterized by G2/M arrest and apoptosis and resistance by reversible G1 growth arrest. These responses to PXD101 are independent of several negative prognostic indicators such as DLBCL subtype, BCL2 and MYC co-expression, and p53 mutation, suggesting that HDAC i might be used effectively against highly aggressive DLBCL tumors if they are combined with other therapeutics that overcome HDAC i resistance. Our investigation of mechanisms underlying HDAC i resistance showed that cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitors (CKIs), p21 and p27, are upregulated by PXD101 in a sustained fashion in resistant cell lines concomitant with decreased activity of the cyclin E/cdk2 complex and decreased Rb phosphorylation. PXD101 treatment results in increased association of CKI with the cyclin E/cdk2 complex in resistant cell lines but not in a sensitive line, indicating that the CKIs play a key role in G1 arrest. The results suggest several treatment strategies that might increase the efficacy of HDAC i against aggressive DLBCL.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)949-961
Number of pages13
JournalCancer Biology and Therapy
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 1 2013



  • BCL2
  • Cell cycle
  • Cell cycle inhibitors
  • Drug resistance
  • Histone deacetylase inhibitor
  • Lymphoma
  • MYC

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Oncology
  • Pharmacology
  • Cancer Research

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