The first therapeutic proteasome inhibitor bortezomib has clinical efficacy in mantle cell lymphoma (MCL) which resulted in its incorporation in treatment algorithms for this disease. Impairment of proteasomal function by bortezomib is mediated via inhibition of the 20S core particle. However, proteasome function can also be modified by targeting upstream components of the ubiquitin-proteasome system. Recently, b-AP15 has been identified as a small molecule achieving proteasome inhibition by targeting the deubiquitinase (DUB) activity of the 19S regulatory subunit and was found to inhibit cancer cell growth in preclinical analyses. In the present study, both direct antitumor effects and the possibility to induce natural killer group 2 member D ligands (NKG2DL) to reinforce NK cell immunity with b-AP15 were investigated to provide a rational basis for clinical evaluation of this novel DUB inhibitor in MCL. Treatment with b-AP15 resulted in reduced viability as well as induction of apoptosis in a time- and dose-dependent manner, which could be attributed to caspase activation in MCL cells. In addition, treatment with b-AP15 differentially induced NKG2DL expression and subsequent NK cell lysis of MCL cells. These results indicate that the DUB inhibitor b-AP15 displays substantial antitumor activity in human MCL and suggest that b-AP15 might be a novel therapeutic option in the treatment of MCL that warrants clinical investigation.
Keywords: B-AP15; DUB inhibitor; Mantle cell lymphoma; NK cells; NKG2DL.