BRD4 PROTAC degrader ARV-825 inhibits T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia by targeting 'Undruggable' Myc-pathway genes

Background: T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (T-ALL) is an aggressive disease with a high risk of induction failure and poor outcomes, with relapse due to drug resistance. Recent studies show that bromodomains and extra-terminal (BET) protein inhibitors are promising anti-cancer agents. ARV-825, comprising a BET inhibitor conjugated with cereblon ligand, was recently developed to attenuate the growth of multiple tumors in vitro and in vivo. However, the functional and molecular mechanisms of ARV-825 in T-ALL remain unclear. This study aimed to investigate the therapeutic efficacy and potential mechanism of ARV-825 in T-ALL.

Methods: Expression of the BRD4 were determined in pediatric T-ALL samples and differential gene expression after ARV-825 treatment was explored by RNA-seq and quantitative reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction. T-ALL cell viability was measured by CCK8 assay after ARV-825 administration. Cell cycle was analyzed by propidium iodide (PI) staining and apoptosis was assessed by Annexin V/PI staining. BRD4, BRD3 and BRD2 proteins were detected by western blot in cells treated with ARV-825. The effect of ARV-825 on T-ALL cells was analyzed in vivo. The functional and molecular pathways involved in ARV-825 treatment of T-ALL were verified by western blot and chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP).

Results: BRD4 expression was higher in pediatric T-ALL samples compared with T-cells from healthy donors. High BRD4 expression indicated a poor outcome. ARV-825 suppressed cell proliferation in vitro by arresting the cell cycle and inducing apoptosis, with elevated poly-ADP ribose polymerase and cleaved caspase 3. BRD4, BRD3, and BRD2 were degraded in line with reduced cereblon expression in T-ALL cells. ARV-825 had a lower IC50 in T-ALL cells compared with JQ1, dBET1 and OTX015. ARV-825 perturbed the H3K27Ac-Myc pathway and reduced c-Myc protein levels in T-ALL cells according to RNA-seq and ChIP. In the T-ALL xenograft model, ARV-825 significantly reduced tumor growth and led to the dysregulation of Ki67 and cleaved caspase 3. Moreover, ARV-825 inhibited cell proliferation by depleting BET and c-Myc proteins in vitro and in vivo.

Conclusions: BRD4 indicates a poor prognosis in T-ALL. The BRD4 degrader ARV-825 can effectively suppress the proliferation and promote apoptosis of T-ALL cells via BET protein depletion and c-Myc inhibition, thus providing a new strategy for the treatment of T-ALL.

Related Products

Cat.No. Product Name Information
S8297 ARV-825 ARV-825 is a BRD4 Inhibitor that recruits BRD4 to the E3 ubiquitin ligase cereblon, leading to fast, efficient, and prolonged degradation of BRD4 and sustained down-regulation of MYC.

Related Targets

PROTAC Epigenetic Reader Domain