Development of HDAC Inhibitors Exhibiting Therapeutic Potential in T-Cell Prolymphocytic Leukemia

J Med Chem. 2021 Jun 8. doi: 10.1021/acs.jmedchem.1c00420. Online ahead of print.

Abstract

Epigenetic targeting has emerged as an efficacious therapy for hematological cancers. The rare and incurable T-cell prolymphocytic leukemia (T-PLL) is known for its aggressive clinical course. Current epigenetic agents such as histone deacetylase (HDAC) inhibitors are increasingly used for targeted therapy. Through a structure-activity relationship (SAR) study, we developed an HDAC6 inhibitor KT-531, which exhibited higher potency in T-PLL compared to other hematological cancers. KT-531 displayed strong HDAC6 inhibitory potency and selectivity, on-target biological activity, and a safe therapeutic window in nontransformed cell lines. In primary T-PLL patient cells, where HDAC6 was found to be overexpressed, KT-531 exhibited strong biological responses, and safety in healthy donor samples. Notably, combination studies in T-PLL patient samples demonstrated KT-531 synergizes with approved cancer drugs, bendamustine, idasanutlin, and venetoclax. Our work suggests HDAC inhibition in T-PLL could afford sufficient therapeutic windows to achieve durable remission either as stand-alone or in combination with targeted drugs.