Ajania pacifica (Nakai) K. Bremer and Humphries Extract Limits MYC Expression to Induce Apoptosis in Diffuse Large B Cell Lymphoma


The proto-oncogene MYC is frequently dysregulated in patients with diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL) and plays a critical role in disease progression. To improve the clinical outcomes of patients with DLBCL, the development of strategies to target MYC is crucial. The use of medicinal plants for developing anticancer drugs has garnered considerable attention owing to their diverse mechanisms of action. In this study, 100 plant extracts of flora from the Republic of Korea were screened to search for novel agents with anti-DLBCL effects. Among them, Ajania pacifica (Nakai) K. Bremer and Humphries extract (APKH) efficiently suppressed the survival of DLBCL cells, while showing minimal toxicity toward normal murine bone marrow cells. APKH suppressed the expression of anti-apoptotic BCL2 family members, causing an imbalance between the pro-apoptotic and anti-apoptotic BCL2 members. This disrupted mitochondrial membrane potential, cytochrome c release, and pro-caspase-3 activation and eventually led to DLBCL cell death. Importantly, MYC expression was markedly downregulated by APKH and ectopic expression of MYC in DLBCL cells abolished the pro-apoptotic effects of APKH. These results demonstrate that APKH exerts anti-DLBCL effects by inhibiting MYC expression. Moreover, when combined with doxorubicin, an essential component of the CHOP regimen (cyclophosphamide, doxorubicin, vincristine, and prednisone), APKH synergistically enhanced the therapeutic effect of doxorubicin. This indicates that APKH may overcome drug resistance, which is common in patients with refractory/relapsed DLBCL. To identify compounds with anti-DLBCL activities in APKH, the chemical profile analysis of APKH was performed using UPLC-QTOF/MSe analysis and assessed for its anticancer activity. Based on the UPLC-QTOF/MSe chemical profiling, it is conceivable that APKH may serve as a novel agent targeting MYC and sensitizing drug-resistant DLBCL cells to CHOP chemotherapy. Further studies to elucidate how the compounds in APKH exert tumor-suppressive role in DLBCL are warranted.


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Ajania pacifica (Nakai) K. Bremer and Humphries, anti-cancer activities, B-cell lymphoma, MYC expression


Woo, Y.-R., Kwon, C.-S., Lee, J.-E., Jeon, B.-E., Kim, T.-J., Choo, J., Seo, Y.-S., & Kim, S.-W.. 2024. Ajania pacifica (Nakai) K. Bremer and Humphries Extract Limits MYC Expression to Induce Apoptosis in Diffuse Large B Cell Lymphoma. Current Issues in Molecular Biology, 46(5). https://doi.org/10.3390/cimb46050278