Herviou L, Kassambara A, Boireau S, Robert N, Requirand G, Müller-Tidow C, Vincent L, Seckinger A, Goldschmidt H, Cartron G, Hose D, Cavalli G, Moreaux J
BACKGROUND: Multiple myeloma (MM) is a malignant plasma cell disease with a poor survival, characterized by the accumulation of myeloma cells (MMCs) within the bone marrow. Epigenetic modifications in MM are associated not only with cancer development and progression, but also with drug resistance. METHODS: We identified a significant upregulation of the polycomb repressive complex 2 (PRC2) core genes in MM cells in association with proliferation. We used EPZ-6438, a specific small molecule inhibitor of EZH2 methyltransferase activity, to evaluate its effects on MM cells phenotype and gene expression prolile. RESULTS: PRC2 targeting results in growth inhibition due to cell cycle arrest and apoptosis together with polycomb, DNA methylation, TP53, and RB1 target genes induction. Resistance to EZH2 inhibitor is mediated by DNA methylation of PRC2 target genes. We also demonstrate a synergistic effect of EPZ-6438 and lenalidomide, a conventional drug used for MM treatment, activating B cell transcription factors and tumor suppressor gene expression in concert with MYC repression. We establish a gene expression-based EZ score allowing to identify poor prognosis patients that could benefit from EZH2 inhibitor treatment. CONCLUSIONS: These data suggest that PRC2 targeting in association with IMiDs could have a therapeutic interest in MM patients characterized by high EZ score values, reactivating B cell transcription factors, and tumor suppressor genes.