Oncogene. 2020 Oct 30. doi: 10.1038/s41388-020-01529-z. Online ahead of print.
We previously showed that Livin, an inhibitor of apoptosis protein, is specifically cleaved to produce a truncated protein, tLivin, and demonstrated its paradoxical proapoptotic activity. We further demonstrated that mini-tLivin (MTV), a 70 amino acids derivative of tLivin, is a proapoptotic protein as potent as tLivin. Based on these findings, in this study we aimed to develop a venue to target MTV for the treatment of diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL). MTV was conjugated to poly
(lactide-co-glycolic acid) surface-activated nanoparticles (NPs). In order to target MTV-NPs we also conjugated CD40 ligand (CD40L) to the surface of the NPs and evaluated the efficacy of the bifunctional CD40L-MTV-NPs. In vitro, CD40L-MTV-NPs elicited significant apoptosis of DLBCL cells. In a disseminated mouse model of DLBCL, 37.5% of MTV-NPs treated mice survived at the end of the experiment. Targeting MTV-NPs using CD40L greatly improved survival and 71.4% of these mice survived. CD40L-MTV-NPs also greatly reduced CNS involvement of DLBCL. Only 20% of these mice presented infiltration of lymphoma to the brain in comparison to 77% of the MTV-NPs treated mice. In a subcutaneous mouse model, CD40L-MTV-NPs significantly reduced tumor volume in correlation with significant increased caspase-3 activity. Thus, targeted MTV-NPs suggest a novel approach to overcome apoptosis resistance in cancer.