DLBCL-associated NOTCH2 mutations evade ubiquitin-dependent degradation via the E3 ligases KLHL6 and FBXW7 and promote chemoresistance.
Inhibition of γ-secretase and AKT with nirogacestat and ipatasertib synergistically promotes CHOP-resistant DLBCL destruction.
Diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL) is the most common subtype of non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Up to 40% of patients with DLBCL display refractory disease or relapse after standard chemotherapy treatment (rituximab, cyclophosphamide, doxorubicin, vincristine, and prednisone [R-CHOP]), leading to significant morbidity and mortality. The molecular mechanisms of chemoresistance in DLBCL remain incompletely understood. Using a cullin–really interesting new gene (RING) ligase-based CRISPR-Cas9 library, we identify that inactivation of the E3 ubiquitin ligase KLHL6 promotes DLBCL chemoresistance. Furthermore, proteomic approaches helped identify KLHL6 as a novel master regulator of plasma membrane–associated NOTCH2 via proteasome-dependent degradation. In CHOP-resistant DLBCL tumors, mutations of NOTCH2 result in a protein that escapes the mechanism of ubiquitin-dependent proteolysis, leading to protein stabilization and activation of the oncogenic RAS signaling pathway. Targeting CHOP-resistant DLBCL tumors with the phase 3 clinical trial molecules nirogacestat, a selective γ-secretase inhibitor, and ipatasertib, a pan-AKT inhibitor, synergistically promotes DLBCL destruction. These findings establish the rationale for therapeutic strategies aimed at targeting the oncogenic pathway activated in KLHL6- or NOTCH2-mutated DLBCL.