Author(s): Knutson SK, Kawano S, Minoshima Y, Warholic NM, Huang KC,
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Abstract Mutations within the catalytic domain of the histone methyltransferase EZH2 have been identified in subsets of patients with non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL). These genetic alterations are hypothesized to confer an oncogenic dependency on EZH2 enzymatic activity in these cancers. We have previously reported the discovery of EPZ005678 and EPZ-6438, potent and selective S-adenosyl-methionine-competitive small molecule inhibitors of EZH2. Although both compounds are similar with respect to their mechanism of action and selectivity, EPZ-6438 possesses superior potency and drug-like properties, including good oral bioavailability in animals. Here, we characterize the activity of EPZ-6438 in preclinical models of NHL. EPZ-6438 selectively inhibits intracellular lysine 27 of histone H3 (H3K27) methylation in a concentration- and time-dependent manner in both EZH2 wild-type and mutant lymphoma cells. Inhibition of H3K27 trimethylation (H3K27Me3) leads to selective cell killing of human lymphoma cell lines bearing EZH2 catalytic domain point mutations. Treatment of EZH2-mutant NHL xenograft-bearing mice with EPZ-6438 causes dose-dependent tumor growth inhibition, including complete and sustained tumor regressions with correlative diminution of H3K27Me3 levels in tumors and selected normal tissues. Mice dosed orally with EPZ-6438 for 28 days remained tumor free for up to 63 days after stopping compound treatment in two EZH2-mutant xenograft models. These data confirm the dependency of EZH2-mutant NHL on EZH2 activity and portend the utility of EPZ-6438 as a potential treatment for these genetically defined cancers.
This article was published in Mol Cancer Ther
and referenced in Gene Technology