Standard chemotherapies for diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL), based on the induction of exogenous DNA damage and oxidative stress, are often less effective in the presence of increased MYC and BCL-2 levels, especially in the case of double hit (DH) lymphomas harboring rearrangements of the MYC and BCL-2 oncogenes, which enrich for a patient’s population characterized by refractoriness to anthracycline-based chemotherapy. Here we hypothesized that adaptive mechanisms to MYC-induced replicative and oxidative stress, consisting in DNA damage response (DDR) activation and BCL-2 overexpression, could represent the biologic basis of the poor prognosis and chemoresistance observed in MYC/BCL-2-positive lymphoma. We first integrated targeted gene expression profiling (T-GEP), fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) analysis, and characterization of replicative and oxidative stress biomarkers in two independent DLBCL cohorts. The presence of oxidative DNA damage biomarkers identified a poor prognosis double expresser (DE)-DLBCL subset, characterized by relatively higher BCL-2 gene expression levels and enrichment for DH lymphomas. Based on these findings, we tested therapeutic strategies based on combined DDR and BCL-2 inhibition, confirming efficacy and synergistic interactions in in vitro and in vivo DH-DLBCL models. These data provide the rationale for precision-therapy strategies based on combined DDR and BCL-2 inhibition in DH or DE-DLBCL.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)197-209
Number of pages13
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hematology
  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


Dive into the research topics of 'Dual targeting of the DNA damage response pathway and BCL-2 in diffuse large B-cell lymphoma'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this