The pathway which B immune cell lymphomas can arise is presented in a study published online this week in Nature Immunology. The findings identify MEF2B protein as a potential target for treatment of certain B cell lymphomas.
Diffuse large B cell lymphomas (DLBCLs) represent a common form of non-Hodgkin’s cancer of the blood. A substantial fraction of DLBCLs arise from mutations of either the BCL6 or MEF2B genes, although the connection between the two genes was previously unclear.
Riccardo Dalla-Favera and colleagues show MEF2B encodes a transcription factor that activates expression of BCL6. MEF2B protein activity is itself tightly regulated. Mutations that relieve the inhibitory regulation of BCL6 expression or MEF2B protein activity enhance the potential of activated B cells to undergo cancerous transformation. The authors show that inhibiting MEF2B function could block proliferation of DLBCL cell lines, indicating its potential as a therapeutic target.