hBfl-1/hNOXA Interaction Studies Provide New Insights on the Role of Bfl-1 in Cancer Cell Resistance and for the Design of Novel Anticancer Agents.


Upregulation of antiapoptotic Bcl-2 proteins in certain tumors confers cancer cell resistance to chemotherapy or radiations. Members of the antiapoptotic Bcl-2 proteins, including Bcl-2, Mcl-1, Bcl-xL, Bcl-w, and Bfl-1, inhibit apoptosis by selectively binding to conserved α-helical regions, named BH3 domains, of pro-apoptotic proteins such as Bim, tBid, Bad, or NOXA. Five antiapoptotic proteins have been identified that interact with various selectivity with BH3 containing pro-apoptotic counterparts. Cancer cells present various and variable levels of these proteins, making the design of effective apoptosis based therapeutics challenging. Recently, BH3 profiling was introduced as a method to classify cancer cells based on their ability to resist apoptosis following exposure to selected BH3 peptides. However, these studies were based on binding affinities measured with model BH3 peptides and Bcl-2-proteins taken from mouse sequences. While the majority of these interactions are conserved between mice and humans, we found surprisingly that human NOXA binds to human Bfl-1 potently and covalently via conserved Cys residues, with over 2 orders of magnitude increased affinity over hMcl-1. Our data suggest that some assumptions of the original BH3 profiling need to be revisited and that perhaps further targeting efforts should be redirected toward Bfl-1, for which no suitable specific inhibitors or pharmacological tools have been reported. In this regard, we also describe the initial design and characterizations of novel covalent BH3-based agents that potently target Bfl-1. These molecules could provide a novel platform on which to design effective Bfl-1 targeting therapeutics.


Real-world clinical experience in the Connect® chronic lymphocytic leukaemia registry: a prospective cohort study of 1494 patients across 199 US centres.


The clinical course of chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (CLL) is heterogeneous, and treatment options vary considerably. The Connect®CLL registry is a multicentre, prospective observational cohort study that provides a real-world perspective on the management of, and outcomes for, patients with CLL. Between 2010 and 2014, 1494 patients with CLL and that initiated therapy, were enrolled from 199 centres throughout the USA (179 community-, 17 academic-, and 3 government-based centres). Patients were grouped by line of therapy at enrolment (LOT). We describe the clinical and demographic characteristics of, and practice patterns for, patients with CLL enrolled in this treatment registry, providing patient-level observational data that represent real-world experiences in the USA. Fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) analyses were performed on 49·3% of patients at enrolment. The most common genetic abnormalities detected by FISH were del(13q) and trisomy 12 (45·7% and 20·8%, respectively). Differences in disease characteristics and comorbidities were observed between patients enrolled in LOT1 and combined LOT2/≥3 cohorts. Important trends observed include the infrequent use of genetic prognostic testing, and differences in patient characteristics for patients receiving chemoimmunotherapy combinations. These data represent experiences of patients with CLL in the USA, which may inform treatment decisions in everyday practice.