An orally available small molecule BCL6 inhibitor effectively suppresses diffuse large B cell lymphoma cells growth in vitro and in vivo

Cancer Lett. 2022 Mar 31:529:100-111. doi: 10.1016/j.canlet.2021.12.035. Epub 2022 Jan 4.


The transcription factor B cell lymphoma 6 (BCL6) is an oncogenic driver of diffuse large B cell lymphoma (DLBCL) and mediates lymphomagenesis through transcriptional repression of its target genes by recruiting corepressors to its N-terminal broad-complex/tramtrack/bric-a-brac (BTB) domain. Blocking the protein-protein interactions of BCL6 and its corepressors has been proposed as an effective approach for the treatment of DLBCL. However, BCL6 inhibitors with excellent drug-like properties are rare. Hence, the development of BCL6 inhibitors is worth pursuing. We screened our internal chemical library by luciferase reporter assay and Homogenous Time Resolved Fluorescence (HTRF) assay and a small molecule compound named WK500B was identified. WK500B engaged BCL6 inside cells, blocked BCL6 repression complexes, reactivated BCL6 target genes, killed DLBCL cells and caused apoptosis as well as cell cycle arrest. In animal models, WK500B inhibited germinal center (GC) formation and DLBCL tumour growth without toxic and side effects. Moreover, WK500B displayed strong efficacy and favourable pharmacokinetics and presented superior druggability. Therefore, WK500B is a promising candidate that could be developed as an effective orally available therapeutic agent for DLBCL.

Keywords: BCL6 inhibitor; BTB domain; Diffuse large B cell Lymphoma; Germinal center.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Apoptosis / drug effects
  • Cell Cycle / drug effects
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Cell Proliferation / drug effects
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Drug Synergism
  • Genes, Reporter
  • Germinal Center / drug effects
  • Germinal Center / immunology
  • Germinal Center / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Lymphoma, Large B-Cell, Diffuse
  • Mice
  • Models, Molecular
  • Molecular Structure
  • Protein Kinase Inhibitors / administration & dosage
  • Protein Kinase Inhibitors / chemistry
  • Protein Kinase Inhibitors / pharmacology*
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-bcl-6 / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • Structure-Activity Relationship
  • Xenograft Model Antitumor Assays


  • BCL6 protein, human
  • Protein Kinase Inhibitors
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-bcl-6