EJHaem. 2023 Jul 27;4(3):667-678. doi: 10.1002/jha2.758. eCollection 2023 Aug.
Adult T-cell leukaemia/lymphoma (ATL) remains incurable. The NF-κB and interferon regulatory factor 4 (IRF4) signalling pathways are among the critical survival pathways for the progression of ATL. TGF-β-activated kinase 1 (TAK1), an IκB kinase-activating kinase, triggers the activation of NF-κB. The resorcylic acid lactone LL-Z1640-2 is a potent irreversible inhibitor of TAK1/extracellular signal-regulated kinase 2 (ERK2). We herein examined the therapeutic efficacy of LL-Z1640-2 against ATL. LL-Z1640-2 effectively suppressed the in vivo growth of ATL cells. It induced in vitro apoptosis and inhibited the nuclear translocation of p65/RelA in ATL cells. The knockdown of IRF4 strongly induced ATL cell death while downregulating MYC. LL-Z1640-2 as well as the NF-κB inhibitor BAY11-7082 decreased the expression of IRF4 and MYC at the protein and mRNA levels, indicating the suppression of the NF-κB-IRF4-MYC axis. The treatment with LL-Z1640-2 also mitigated the phosphorylation of p38 MAPK along with the expression of CC chemokine receptor 4. Furthermore, the inhibition of STAT3/5 potentiated the cytotoxic activity of LL-Z1640-2 against IL-2-responsive ATL cells in the presence of IL-2. Therefore, LL-Z1640-2 appears to be an effective treatment for ATL. Further studies are needed to develop more potent compounds that retain the active motifs of LL-Z1640-2.