Targeting eIF4F translation initiation complex with SBI-756 sensitises B lymphoma cells to venetoclax

Lee or Herzog, Beth Walters, Roberta Buono, J. Scott Lee, Sharmila Mallya, Amos Fung, Honyin Chiu, Nancy Nguyen, Boyang Li, Anthony B. Pinkerton, Michael R. Jackson, Robert J. Schneider, Ze’ev A. Ronai, David A. Fruman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Background: The BCL2 inhibitor venetoclax has shown efficacy in several hematologic malignancies, with the greatest response rates in indolent blood cancers such as chronic lymphocytic leukaemia. There is a lower response rate to venetoclax monotherapy in diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL). Methods: We tested inhibitors of cap-dependent mRNA translation for the ability to sensitise DLBCL and mantle cell lymphoma (MCL) cells to apoptosis by venetoclax. We compared the mTOR kinase inhibitor (TOR-KI) MLN0128 with SBI-756, a compound targeting eukaryotic translation initiation factor 4G1 (eIF4G1), a scaffolding protein in the eIF4F complex. Results: Treatment of DLBCL and MCL cells with SBI-756 synergised with venetoclax to induce apoptosis in vitro, and enhanced venetoclax efficacy in vivo. SBI-756 prevented eIF4E-eIF4G1 association and cap-dependent translation without affecting mTOR substrate phosphorylation. In TOR-KI-resistant DLBCL cells lacking eIF4E binding protein-1, SBI-756 still sensitised to venetoclax. SBI-756 selectively reduced translation of mRNAs encoding ribosomal proteins and translation factors, leading to a reduction in protein synthesis rates in sensitive cells. When normal lymphocytes were treated with SBI-756, only B cells had reduced viability, and this correlated with reduced protein synthesis. Conclusions: Our data highlight a novel combination for treatment of aggressive lymphomas, and establishes its efficacy and selectivity using preclinical models.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1098-1109
Number of pages12
JournalBritish Journal of Cancer
Issue number6
StatePublished - 16 Mar 2021
Externally publishedYes


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