According to the World Health Organization (WHO), in 2020, cancer was responsible for the deaths of almost ten million people worldwide. Such statistics place cancer as a leading cause of death worldwide, second to heart disease. Cancer is when a series of mutations occurs in a cell, resulting in uncontrollable cellular division that eventually leads to interference in the function of vital organs. One of the more common types of cancer is lymphoma, the malignant growth of tumor cells of the lymphatic system. Current treatments for lymphoma include radiation therapy and chemotherapy, but these treatments can have drawbacks: they can be painful for the patient by killing healthy cells alongside cancer cells, and there is no guarantee that the treatments will completely eliminate all cancer cells. With a treatment that specifically targets the malignant cells, we can better treat lymphoma as well as other types of cancers.
MYC is a gene that when expressed in moderation, is responsible for maintaining cellular functions such as the cell cycle, apoptosis (programmed cell death), and protein production. It does so through “recruiting” enzymes such as histone acetyltransferases p300/CBP or the histone deacetylases (HDACs) to regulate expression of other genes. However, dysregulation of MYC expression can cause these cell functions to lose control as HDACs will have no means of regulation, genes to aid in the increase in cellular processes and pathways that would lead to the cell to become cancerous. MYC has also been found to be overexpressed in other types of cancers, such as uterine leiomyosarcoma.
The purpose of this project was to determine the effect of HDAC6 inhibitor Marbostat-100 (M-100) on oncogenic MYC expression levels in mice with MYC-induced aggressive B-cell lymphoma. In this experiment, mice with B-cell lymphoma as well as human B cell lymphoma cells were treated with various concentrations of M-100. It was found that all experimental concentrations of M-100 caused HDAC inhibition and reduction of MYC expression and protein levels, consequently inducing apoptosis in the murine and human cancer cells and statistically significantly increasing the mice’s survival rates. Therefore, MYC inhibition could be a possible therapeutic treatment for cancers like B-cell lymphoma.