Previous studies in our lab have shown that the PKC-beta inhibitor, enzastaurin (LY317615), when used to treat a panel of human diffuse large cell lymphoma (DLCL) lines, was able to induce cell death in vitro and substantially reduce tumor growth in xenograft assays. These findings support the hypothesis that activation of PKC contributes to tumor cell survival and proliferation, which has been implicated in the pathogenesis of human B cell lymphomas. Specifically, PKC-beta activation is increased in tumor cells from patients with poor prognosis DLCL, suggesting that PKC-beta may be a target for therapeutic intervention. In the present study, we have explored the interaction of enzastaurin with a panel of well characterized therapeutic agents to evaluate whether its anti-tumor activity can potentially be enhanced. Drugs were chosen for analysis based either on known single agent activity in lymphoma, or by preclinical evaluation indicating potential synergy with enzastaurin. For in vitro culture assays (48–72 hr treatment), the addition of gemcitabine, rapamycin, or bortezomib, increased the cytotoxicity of enzastaurin from 2 to 7 fold. This effect was evident with multiple human DLCL cell lines, (OCI-Ly3, 7, 10, 19, and SUDHL-4, and 6), as well as two independent primary DLCL cultures. For in vivo studies, subcutaneous transplantation of the DLCL cell line OCI-Ly19, (previously engineered to express luciferase which allows for real time in vivo imaging), or a primary DLCL isolate, into immune deficient NOD/SCID mice formed reproducible tumors. Recipient animals were separated into uniform cohorts when the tumors were of <=500 cubic mm in size. The animals were then simultaneously or sequentially treated with enzastaurin, (150 mg/kg b.i.d. via oral gavage) and a secondary drug, either gemcitabine, (2.5 or 5.0 mg/kg 1x/3 days IP), bortezomib, (0.4 mg/kg twice weekly IP), rapamycin, (1.0 mg/kg, daily IP), or rituxan, (5 mg/kg, weekly IP). Imaging and analysis of tumor volumes showed that addition of either rituxan or rapamycin provided no additional benefit in comparison to enzastaurin alone during the course of treatment. In contrast, the combination of either gemcitabine or bortezomib with enzastaurin demonstrated significantly reduced tumor volumes in comparison to enzastaurin alone (17% to 38% greater decrease with enzastaurin + gemcitabine, and 50% greater decrease in tumor volume with enzastaurin + bortezomib). These data suggest that the use of enzastaurin in combination with existing therapeutic drugs (gemcitabine or bortezomib) has the potential to limit tumor size/growth while lowering dose levels and thereby reducing potential side effects associated with traditional treatments.

Disclosures: No relevant conflicts of interest to declare.

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