BRD2 induces drug resistance through activation of the RasGRP1/Ras/ERK signaling pathway in adult T-cell lymphoblastic lymphoma


Tian XP, et al. Cancer Commun (Lond) 2020.


BACKGROUND: Adult patients with T-cell lymphoblastic lymphoma (T-LBL) are treated with high-intensity chemotherapy regimens, but the response rate is still unsatisfactory because of frequent drug resistance. We aimed to investigate the potential mechanisms of drug resistance in adults with T-LBL.

METHODS: Gene expression microarray was used to identify differential mRNA expression profiles between chemotherapy-resistant and chemotherapy-sensitive adult T-LBL tissues. Real-time PCR and immunohistochemistry were performed to detect the expression of bromodomain-containing protein 2 (BRD2) and c-Myc in fresh-frozen T-LBL tissues from 85 adult patients. The Ras pull-down assay was performed to monitor Ras activation. Chromatin immunoprecipitation assays were used to analyze the binding of E2F transcription factor 1 (E2F1)/BRD2 to the RAS guanyl releasing protein 1 (RasGRP1) promoter region. The drug resistance effect and mechanism of BRD2 were determined by both in vivo and in vitro studies.

RESULTS: A total of 86 chemotherapy resistance-related genes in adult T-LBL were identified by gene expression microarray. Among them, BRD2 was upregulated in chemotherapy-resistant adult T-LBL tissues and associated with worse progression-free survival and overall survival of 85 adult T-LBL patients. Furthermore, BRD2 suppressed doxorubicin (Dox)-induced cell apoptosis both in vitro and in vivo. The activation of RasGRP1/Ras/ERK signaling might contribute to the Dox resistance effect of BRD2. Besides, OTX015, a bromodomain and extra-terminal (BET) inhibitor, reversed the Dox resistance effect of BRD2. Patient-derived tumor xenograft demonstrated that the sequential use of OTX015 after Dox showed superior therapeutic effects.

CONCLUSIONS: Our data showed that BRD2 promotes drug resistance in adult T-LBL through the RasGRP1/Ras/ERK signaling pathway. Targeting BRD2 may be a novel strategy to improve the therapeutic efficacy and prolong survival of adults with T-LBL.