EJHaem. 2020 Jul;1(1):122-132. doi: 10.1002/jha2.2. Epub 2020 Apr 9.
We studied the biological activity of pevonedistat, a first-in-class NEDD8-activating enzyme (NAE) inhibitor, in combination with various cytotoxic chemotherapy agents and small molecule inhibitors in lymphoma pre-clinical models. Pevonedistat induced cell death in activated B-cell (ABC) diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL) cell lines and to a lesser degree in germinal center B-cell (GCB) DLBCL cell lines. In pevonedistat sensitive cells, we observed inhibition of NFκB activity by p65
co-localization studies, decreased expression of BCL-2/BCL-XL and upregulation of BAK levels. Pevonedistat enhanced the activity of cytarabine, cisplatin, doxorubicin and etoposide in ABC-, but not in the GCB-DLBCL cell lines. It also exhibited synergy with ibrutinib, selinexor, venetoclax and A-1331852 (a novel BCL-XL inhibitor). In vivo, the combination of pevonedistat and ibrutinib or pevonedistat and cytarabine prolonged survival in SCID mice xenograft models when compared with monotherapy controls. Our data suggest that targeting the neddylation pathway in DLBCL is a viable therapeutic strategy and support further clinical studies of pevonedistat as a single agent or in combination with chemotherapy or novel targeted agents.