Combinatorial ixazomib and belinostat therapy induces NFE2L2-dependent apoptosis in Hodgkin and T-cell lymphoma

Frank C. Passero, Dashnamoorthy Ravi, J. Tyson McDonald, Afshin Beheshti, Kevin A. David, Andrew M. Evens

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1 Scopus citations


Ixazomib activity and transcriptomic analyses previously established in T cell (TCL) and Hodgkin (HL) lymphoma models predicted synergistic activity for histone deacetylase (HDAC) inhibitory combination. In this present study, we determined the mechanistic basis for ixazomib combination with the HDAC inhibitor, belinostat, in HL and TCL cells lines (ixazomib-sensitive/resistant clones) and primary tumour cells. In ixazomib-treated TCL and HL cells, transient inhibition followed by full recovery of proteasomal activity observed was accompanied by induction of proteasomal gene expression with NFE2L2 (also termed NRF2) as a prominent upstream regulator. Downregulation of both NFE2L2 and proteasomal gene expression (validated by quantitative real time polymerase chain reaction) occurred with belinostat treatment in Jurkat and L428 cells. In addition, CRISPR/Cas9 mediated knockdown of NFE2L2 in Jurkat cells resulted in a significant decrease in cell viability with ixazomib compared with untreated control cells. Using transcriptomic and proteasomal activity evaluation of ixazomib, belinostat, or ixazomib + belinostat treated cells, we observed that NFE2L2, proteasome gene expression and functional recovery were abrogated by ixazomib + belinostat combination, resulting in synergistic drug activity in ixazomib-sensitive and -resistant cell lines and primary cells. Altogether, these results suggest that the synergistic activity of ixazomib + belinostat is mediated via inhibition NFE2L2-dependent proteasomal recovery and extended proteasomal inhibition culminating in increased cell death.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)295-308
Number of pages14
JournalBritish Journal of Haematology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 1 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Hematology


  • HDAC inhibition
  • NFE2L2
  • lymphoma
  • proteasomal inhibition
  • systems biology

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