Diffuse large B cell lymphoma (DLBCL) heterogeneity promotes recurrence and anti-CD20-based therapeutic resistance. Previous studies have shown that downregulation of MS4A1/CD20 expression after chemoimmunotherapy with rituximab leads to rituximab resistance. However, the mechanisms of CD20 loss remain unknown. We identified that pyruvate dehydrogenase kinase 4 (PDK4) is markedly elevated in DLBCL cells derived from both patients and cell lines with R-CHOP (rituximab plus cyclophosphamide, doxorubicin, vincristine, and prednisone) resistance. We found that overexpression of PDK4 in DLBCL cells resulted in cell proliferation and resistance to rituximab in vitro and in vivo. Furthermore, loss of PDK4 expression or treatment with the PDK4 inhibitor dichloroacetate was able to significantly increase rituximab-induced cell apoptosis in DLBCL cells. Further studies suggested PDK4 mediates a metabolic shift, in that the main energy source was changed from oxidative phosphorylation to glycolysis, and the metabolic changes could play an important role in rituximab resistance. Importantly, by knocking down or overexpressing PDK4 in DLBCL cells, we showed that PDK4 has a negative regulation effect on MS4A1/CD20 expression. Collectively, this is the first study showing that targeting PDK4 has the potential to overcome rituximab resistance in DLBCL.
Keywords: MS4A1/CD20; PDK4; diffuse large B-cell lymphoma; metabolic reprogramming; rituximab.
© 2021 The Authors. Cancer Science published by John Wiley & Sons Australia, Ltd on behalf of Japanese Cancer Association.