Bortezomib therapy has shown promising clinical activity in mantle cell lymphoma (MCL), but the development of resistance to proteasome inhibition may limit its efficacy. To unravel the factors involved in the acquisition of bortezomib resistance in vivo, immunodeficient mice were engrafted with a set of MCL cell lines with different levels of sensitivity to the drug, followed by gene expression profiling of the tumors and functional validation of the identified gene signatures. We observed an increased tumorigenicity of bortezomib-resistant MCL cells in vivo, which was associated with plasmacytic differentiation features, like interferon regulatory factor 4 (IRF4) and Blimp-1 upregulation. Lenalidomide was particularly active in this subgroup of tumors, targeting IRF4 expression and plasmacytic differentiation program, thus overcoming bortezomib resistance. Moreover, repression of the IRF4 target gene MYC in bortezomib-resistant cells by gene knockdown or treatment with CPI203, a BET (bromodomain and extra terminal) bromodomain inhibitor, synergistically induced cell death when combined with lenalidomide. In mice, addition of CPI203 to lenalidomide therapy further decreased tumor burden, involving simultaneous MYC and IRF4 downregulation and apoptosis induction. Together, these results suggest that exacerbated IRF4/MYC signaling is associated to bortezomib resistance in MCL in vivo and warrant clinical evaluation of lenalidomide plus BET inhibitor combination in MCL cases refractory to proteasome inhibition.