Vorinostat and Mithramycin A in combination therapy as an interesting strategy for the treatment of Sézary T lymphoma: a transcriptomic approach


  • Ragheb R.
  • Venton G.
  • Chelbi R.
  • Bonnet N.
  • Le Treut T.
  • Ivanov V.
  • Mercier C.
  • Poulin P.
  • Beaufils N.
  • Gabert J.
  • Suchon P.
  • Rihet P.
  • Loriod B.
  • Kahn-Perlès B.
  • Costello Régis T.


  • Sézary syndrome
  • Mithramycin A
  • Gene expression profiling
  • Synergistic apoptosis
  • SAHA

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SAHA (vorinostat) is a histone deacetylase inhibitor approved by the USA Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for treating advanced refractory cutaneous T cell lymphomas. As SAHA alters the expression of many genes under control of the Sp1 transcription factor, we examined the effect of its association with the FDA-approved anticancer antibiotic Mithramycin A (MTR, plicamycin), a competitive inhibitor of Sp1 binding to DNA. Sézary syndrome (SS) cells, expanded ex vivo from peripheral blood mononuclear cells of 4 patients, were tested for their sensitivity to the drugs regarding cytotoxicity and differential responsive gene expression. Multivariate statistical methods were used to identify genes whose expression is altered by SAHA, MTR, and the synergist effect of the two drugs. MTR, like SAHA, induced the apoptosis of SS cells, while the two drugs in combination showed clear synergy or potentiation. Expression data stressed a likely important role of additive or synergistic epigenetic modifications in the combined effect of the two drugs, while direct inhibition of Sp1-dependent transcription seemed to have only limited impact. Ontological analysis of modified gene expression suggested that the two drugs, either independently or synergistically, counteracted many intertwined pro-survival pathways deregulated in SS cells, resistance of these tumors to intrinsic and extrinsic apoptosis, abnormal adhesion migration, and invasive properties, as well as immunosuppressive behavior. Our findings provide preliminary clues on the individual and combined effects of SAHA and MTR in SS cells and highlight a potential therapeutic interest of this novel pair of drugs for treatment of SS patients.

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