The tumour suppressor FOXO3 is a key regulator of mantle cell lymphoma proliferation and survival

Br J Haematol. 2012 Feb;156(3):334-45. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2141.2011.08951.x. Epub 2011 Nov 23.


The FOXO3 (Forkhead/winged helix box class O 3) transcription factor is a crucial regulator of haematopoietic cell fate that controls proliferation and apoptosis, among other processes. Despite the central role of FOXO3 as a tumour suppressor and phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K)/AKT effector, little is known about its involvement in mantle cell lymphoma (MCL) biology. This study investigated the expression and activity of FOXO3 in MCL cell lines and in primary cultures. We analysed the expression of key FOXO regulators and targets, and studied the effect of modulators of FOXO function on cell viability and apoptosis. FOXO3 was constitutively inactivated in MCL cell lines, and showed cytoplasmic localization in patient-derived cells. PI3K and AKT, but not mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR), inhibitors induced FOXO3 nuclear translocation and activation in correlation with their impact on MCL proliferation and survival. Moreover, FOXO3-defective cells were resistant to PI3K/AKT inhibitors. Reactivation of FOXO function with a nuclear export inhibitor had a profound effect on cell viability, consistent with FOXO3 nuclear accumulation. Interestingly, inhibition of FOXO3 nuclear export enhanced the effect of doxorubicin. Taken together, our results confirm that FOXO3 is a relevant regulator of proliferation and apoptosis in MCL, and suggest that reactivation of FOXO3 function might be a useful therapeutic strategy in MCL patients.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Active Transport, Cell Nucleus / drug effects
  • Apoptosis / drug effects
  • Cell Cycle / drug effects
  • Cell Line, Tumor / drug effects
  • Cell Line, Tumor / enzymology
  • Doxorubicin / pharmacology
  • Forkhead Box Protein O3
  • Forkhead Transcription Factors / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Forkhead Transcription Factors / genetics
  • Forkhead Transcription Factors / physiology*
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic
  • Genes, Tumor Suppressor*
  • Humans
  • Lymphoma, Mantle-Cell / genetics
  • Lymphoma, Mantle-Cell / pathology*
  • Neoplasm Proteins / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Phosphoinositide-3 Kinase Inhibitors
  • Phosphorylation
  • Protein Kinase Inhibitors / pharmacology
  • Protein Processing, Post-Translational
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-akt / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Transcription, Genetic
  • Tyrosine / analogs & derivatives
  • Tyrosine / pharmacology


  • FOXO3 protein, human
  • Forkhead Box Protein O3
  • Forkhead Transcription Factors
  • Neoplasm Proteins
  • Phosphoinositide-3 Kinase Inhibitors
  • Protein Kinase Inhibitors
  • psammaplysene A
  • Tyrosine
  • Doxorubicin
  • AKT1 protein, human
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-akt