Targeting metabolism and survival in chronic lymphocytic leukemia and richter syndrome cells by a novel NF-κB inhibitor Academic Article uri icon


MeSH Major

  • Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols
  • Fluorodeoxyglucose F18
  • Hodgkin Disease
  • Lymphoma, Large B-Cell, Diffuse
  • Radiopharmaceuticals


  • IT-901 is a novel and selective NF-κB inhibitor with promising activity in pre-clinical models. Here we show that treatment of chronic lymphocytic leukemia cells (CLL) with IT-901 effectively interrupts NF-κB transcriptional activity. CLL cells exposed to the drug display elevated mitochondrial reactive oxygen species, which damage mitochondria, limit oxidative phosphorylation and ATP production, and activate intrinsic apoptosis. Inhibition of NF-κB signaling in stromal and myeloid cells, both tumor-supportive elements, fails to induce apoptosis, but impairs NF-κB-driven expression of molecules involved in cell-cell contacts and immune responses, essential elements in creating a pro-leukemic niche. The consequence is that accessory cells do not protect CLL cells from IT-901-induced apoptosis. In this context, IT-901 shows synergistic activity with ibrutinib, arguing in favor of combination strategies. IT-901 is also effective in primary cells from patients with Richter syndrome (RS). Its anti-tumor properties are confirmed in xenograft models of CLL and in RS patient-derived xenografts, with documented NF-κB inhibition and significant reduction of tumor burden. Together, these results provide pre-clinical proof of principle for IT-901 as a potential new drug in CLL and RS.

publication date

  • October 27, 2017



  • Academic Article



  • eng

PubMed Central ID

  • PMC5664392

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.3324/haematol.2017.173419

PubMed ID

  • 28860341

Additional Document Info

start page

  • 1878

end page

  • 1889


  • 102


  • 11