J Med Invest. 2020;67(3.4):343-350. doi: 10.2152/jmi.67.343.
Drug-tolerant cells are mediators of acquired resistance. BIM-intron2 deletion polymorphism (BIM-del) is one of the mechanisms underlying the resistance to epidermal growth factor tyrosine kinase inhibitor (EGFR-TKI)-mediated apoptosis that induces drug tolerance. Here, we investigated whether resminostat, a histone deacetylase inhibitor, circumvents BIM-del-associated apoptosis resistance. The human EGFR-mutated non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) cell line PC-9 and its homozygous
BIM-del-positive variant (PC-9 BIMi2- / -), established by editing with zinc finger nuclease, were used. In comparison with PC-9 cells, PC-9 BIMi2- / - cells were less sensitive to apoptosis mediated by EGFR-TKIs such as gefitinib and osimertinib. The combined use of resminostat and an EGFR-TKI preferentially induced the expression of the pro-apoptotic BIM transcript containing exon 4 rather than that containing exon 3, increased the level of pro-apoptotic BIM protein (BIMEL), and stimulated apoptosis in vitro. In a subcutaneous tumor model derived from PC-9 BIMi2- / - cells, gefitinib monotherapy decreased tumor size but retained residual lesions, indicative of the presence of tolerant cells in tumors. The combined use of resminostat and gefitinib increased BIMEL protein level and induced apoptosis, subsequently leading to the remarkable shrinkage of tumor. These findings suggest the potential of resminostat to circumvent tolerance to EGFR-TKIs associated with BIM deletion polymorphism. J. Med. Invest. 67 : 343-350, August, 2020.