Novel targeted agents used in therapy of lymphoid malignancies, such as inhibitors of B-cell receptor-associated kinases, are recognized to have complex immune-mediated effects. NEDD8-activating enzyme (NAE) has been identified as a tractable target in chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) and non-Hodgkin lymphoma. We and others have shown that pevonedistat (TAK-924), a small-molecule inhibitor of NAE, abrogates NF-κB signaling in malignant B cells. However, NF-κB pathway activity is indispensable in immune response, and T-cell function is altered in patients with CLL. Using T cells derived from patients with CLL, we demonstrate that although targeting NAE results in markedly differential expression of NF-κB-regulated genes and downregulation of interleukin (IL)-2 signaling during T-cell activation, T cells evade apoptosis. Meanwhile, NAE inhibition favorably modulates polarization of T cells in vitro, with decreased Treg differentiation and a shift toward TH1 phenotype, accompanied by increased interferon-γ production. These findings were recapitulated in vivo in immunocompetent mouse models. T cells exposed to pevonedistat in washout experiments, informed by its human pharmacokinetic profile, recover NAE activity, and maintain their response to T-cell receptor stimulation and cytotoxic potential. Our data shed light on the potential immune implications of targeting neddylation in CLL and lymphoid malignancies.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research