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Characterizing the Therapeutic Potential of a Potent BET Degrader in Merkel Cell Carcinoma.

Neoplasia. 2019 Feb 20;21(3):322-330

Authors: Choi JE, Verhaegen ME, Yazdani S, Malik R, Harms PW, Mangelberger D, Tien J, Cao X, Wang Y, CieĊ›lik M, Gurkan J, Yazdani M, Jing X, Juckette K, Su F, Wang R, Zhou B, Apel IJ, Wang S, Dlugosz AA, Chinnaiyan AM

Studies on the efficacy of small molecule inhibitors in Merkel cell carcinoma (MCC) have been limited and largely inconclusive. In this study, we investigated the therapeutic potential of a potent BET degrader, BETd-246, in the treatment of MCC. We found that MCC cell lines were significantly more sensitive to BETd-246 than to BET inhibitor treatment. Therapeutic targeting of BET proteins resulted in a loss of “MCC signature” genes but not MYC expression as previously described irrespective of Merkel cell polyomavirus (MCPyV) status. In MCPyV+ MCC cells, BETd-246 alone suppressed downstream targets in the MCPyV-LT Ag axis. We also found enrichment of HOX and cell cycle genes in MCPyV- MCC cell lines that were intrinsically resistant to BETd-246. Our findings uncover a requirement for BET proteins in maintaining MCC lineage identity and point to the potential utility of BET degraders for treating MCC.

PMID: 30797188 [PubMed – as supplied by publisher]

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