Xargay-Torrent S, Lopez-Guerra M, Rosich L, Montraveta A, Roldan J, Rodriguez V, Villamor N, Aymerich M, Lagisetti C, Webb TR, López-Otín C, Campo E and Colomer D. Oncotarget, 2015 Sep 8;6(26):22734-49. PMID: 26068951
Mutations or deregulated expression of the components of the spliceosome can influence the splicing pattern of several genes and contribute to the development of tumors. In this context, we report that the spliceosome modulator sudemycin induces selective cytotoxicity in primary chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) cells when compared with healthy lymphocytes and tumor cells from other B-lymphoid malignancies, with a slight bias for CLL cases with mutations in spliceosome-RNA processing machinery. Consistently, sudemycin exhibits considerable antitumor activity in NOD/SCID/IL2Rγ-/- (NSG) mice engrafted with primary cells from CLL patients. The antileukemic effect of sudemycin involves the splicing modulation of several target genes important for tumor survival, both in SF3B1-mutated and -unmutated cases. Thus, the apoptosis induced by this compound is related to the alternative splicing switch of MCL1 toward its proapoptotic isoform. Sudemycin also functionally disturbs NF-κB pathway in parallel with the induction of a spliced RELA variant that loses its DNA binding domain. Importantly, we show an enhanced antitumor effect of sudemycin in combination with ibrutinib that might be related to the modulation of the alternative splicing of the inhibitor of Btk (IBTK). In conclusion, we provide first evidence that the spliceosome is a relevant therapeutic target in CLL, supporting the use of splicing modulators alone or in combination with ibrutinib as a promising approach for the treatment of CLL patients.