Involvement of EZH2 inhibition in lenalidomide and pomalidomide

by | May 4, 2022

Involvement of EZH2 inhibition in lenalidomide and pomalidomide-mediated growth suppression in HTLV-1-infected cells


Immunomodulatory imide drugs (IMiDs), such as lenalidomide and pomalidomide, exert pleiotropic effects, e.g., antitumor effects in multiple myeloma, by binding the protein Cereblon and altering its substrate specificity. Lenalidomide is approved for the treatment of adult T-cell leukemia/lymphoma (ATL) caused by human T-cell leukemia virus type 1 (HTLV-1), although the precise mechanisms responsible for its effectiveness have not been fully elucidated. Here, we used HTLV-1-infected cell lines to investigate how IMiDs exert anti-ATL effects. In three of four tested HTLV-1-infected cell lines, the cells treated with lenalidomide or pomalidomide exhibited mild growth suppression without apoptosis, which was associated with decreased IRF4, c-Myc, and phosphorylated STAT3 levels as well as enhanced SOCS3 expression. Additionally, the levels of enhancer of zeste homolog 2 (EZH2) and trimethyl histone 3 Lys27 (H3K27me3) were decreased following IMiD treatment in all three susceptible cell lines. An IMiD-mediated reduction of EZH2 and H3K27me3 levels was also observed in a multiple myeloma cell line. Furthermore, treatment with an EZH2-inhibitor reproduced the IMiD-mediated effects in HTLV-1-infected cells and multiple myeloma cells. These findings strongly suggest that a reduction of EZH2 expression is involved in the mechanism underlying the antitumor effects of IMiD.

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