Gene expression profiling of diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL) has revealed distinct molecular subtypes that include germinal center B cell-like (GCB) and activated B cell-like (ABC) DLBCL. ABC DLBCL has a worse survival after upfront chemotherapy and is characterized by constitutive activation of the antiapoptotic nuclear factor-kappa B (NF-κB) pathway, which can inhibit chemotherapy. We hypothesized that inhibition of NF-κB might sensitize ABC but not GCB DLBCL to chemotherapy and improve outcome. As the proteasome inhibitor bortezomib can inhibit NF-κB through blocking IκBα degradation, we investigated bortezomib alone followed by bortezomib and doxorubicin-based chemotherapy in recurrent DLBCL. Tumor tissue was analyzed by gene expression profiling and/or immunohistochemistry to identify molecular DLBCL subtypes.As a control, we showed that relapsed/refractory ABC and GCB DLBCL have equally poor survivals after upfront chemotherapy. Bortezomib alone had no activity in DLBCL, but when combined with chemotherapy, it demonstrated a significantly higher response (83% vs 13%; P < .001) and median overall survival (10.8 vs 3.4 months; P = .003) in ABC compared with GCB DLBCL, respectively. These results suggest bortezomib enhances the activity of chemotherapy in ABC but not GCB DLBCL, and provide a rational therapeutic approach based on genetically distinct DLBCL subtypes. This trial is registered with http://www. ClinicalTrials.gov under identifier NCT00057902.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cell Biology