New Developments in Lymphoma – Winter 2015 Newsletter

The Lymphoma Program has published the winter 2015 edition of the New Developments in Lymphoma Newsletter.

Please look to this space for further announcements of future newsletter issues, or sign up for advance notice of the newsletter here.

Demethylase Activity of AID During Germinal B-cell Maturation Could Contribute to Lymphomagenesis

shaknovich_rBy Rita Shaknovich, MD, PhD

Diffuse large B-cell lymphomas (DLBCL) are aggressive tumors that arise from germinal center B-cells (GCB). Post GCB are noted for their heterogeneity and variable clinical outcomes. In previous genome wide studies we found profound alterations in the cytosine methylation patterning of DLBCL and that the expression of activation-induced deaminase (AID) was associated with the loss of methylation in DLBCL patients. AID functions as demethylase during embryonic development, which  led us to ask whether AID has demethylase activity during the transit of B-cells through the germinal center, and if over expression contributes to lymphomagenesis through the disruption of DNA methylation.

This question was addressed in an abstract during the 56th annual meeting of the American Society of Hematology (ASH). We studied the epigenetic function of AID in GCB and germinal center-derived lymphomas. Our preliminary results indicate that high AID expression is correlated with a more aggressive phenotype of the disease. We are currently analyzing the epigenetic targets of AID in both normal GCB and tumors, in order to find genes that could be epigenetically deregulated and contribute to the formation of lymphomas. These results demonstrate – for the first time – that AID functions as a demethylase in GCB in vivo. This suggests that the epigenetic role of AID could contribute to lymphomagenesis.

Patient Experience at Weill Cornell Medical College

Meet Jane a patient diagnosed with diffuse large B-cell lymphoma. Hear about her experience with the Lymphoma Program at Weill Cornell Medical College.


ASH 2014 – WCMC Related Abstracts

It has been another productive year for research in the Lymphoma Program at Weill Cornell Medical College. Listed below are the abstracts we were involved in whole or in part to be presented at this year’s 56th Annual Meeting of the American Society of Hematology (ASH).

Look to this space for future updates about developments at ASH 2014.

Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma
781 – Convergent Mutations and New Kinase Fusions Lead to Oncogenic STAT3 Activation in Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma
1679 – Identification of a New Subclass of ALK Negative Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma Expressing Aberrant Levels of ERBB4 Transcripts

327 – Efficacy and Safety of Ibrutinib in Patients with Relapsed or Refractory Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia or Small Lymphocytic Leukemia with 17p Deletion: Results from the Phase II RESONATE™-17 Trial
330 – Second Interim Analysis of a Phase 3 Study of Idelalisib (ZYDELIG®) Plus Rituximab (R) for Relapsed Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia (CLL): Efficacy Analysis in Patient Subpopulations with Del(17p) and Other Adverse Prognostic Factors
1990 – Pattern of Use of Anticoagulation and/or Antiplatelet Agents in Patients with Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia (CLL) Treated with Single-Agent Ibrutinib Therapy
3316 – Extracellular Nicotinamide Phosphoribosyltransferase (NAMPT) Shapes the CLL Microenvironment Promoting Macrophage M2 Polarization Via a Non-Enzymatic Mechanism
3331 – Updated Efficacy Including Genetic and Clinical Subgroup Analysis and Overall Safety in the Phase 3 RESONATETM Trial of Ibrutinib Versus Ofatumumab in Previously Treated Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia/Small Lymphocytic Lymphoma
4615 – Cancer-Associated Mutations in SF3B1 Exhibit Neomorphic Splicing Activity and Block Erythroid Differentiation
3343 – Long-Term Follow-up of a Phase 1 Trial of Idelalisib (ZYDELIG®) in Combination with Bendamustine (B), Bendamustine/Rituximab (BR), Fludarabine (F), Chlorambucil (Chl), or Chlorambucil/Rituximab (ChlR) in Patients with Relapsed or Refractory Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia (CLL)

59 – Demethylase Activity of Aid during Germinal Center B Cell Maturation Could Contribute to Lymphomagenesis
143 – Akt Activation Confers an Inferior Survival in Patients with Activated B-Cell Subtype of Diffuse Large B-Cell Lymphoma: A Report from the International DLBCL Rituximab-CHOP Consortium Program
567 – BCL6 Mediates a Stress Tolerance Phenotype through Its BTB Domain
864 – Strand-Specific Total RNA Sequencing Establishes the Complete Transcriptome and Alternative Splicing Repertoire in Diffuse Large B Cell Lymphoma
928 – A Virtual B Cell Lymphoma Model to Predict Effective Combination Therapy
1620 – NF-κB Subunit c-Rel Cooperates with Myc and Mutated p53 to Confer Significantly Worse Survival in Patients with Diffuse Large B-Cell Lymphoma: A Report from the International DLBCL Rituximab-CHOP Consortium Program
1692 – Genetic Mechanisms of Immune Escape in Diffuse Large B Cell Lymphoma
1764 – Hsp90 at the Hub of Metabolic Homeostasis in Malignant B Cells
2032 – Whole-Genome Epigenomic Analysis in Multiple Myeloma Reveals DNA Hypermethylation of B-Cell Specific Enhancers
2963 – Mirna-181a expression Lead to Longer Animal Survival and Slower Tumor-Growth Rate in Diffuse Large B-Cell Lymphoma Xenograft Models
3021 – Characterization of DLBCL-Derived Exosomes and Investigation of Their Biological Properties
3091 – Unexpected and Serious Toxicity Observed with Combined Idelalisib, Lenalidomide and Rituximab in Relapsed/Refractory B Cell Lymphomas: Alliance A051201 and A051202
3547 – EBV Microrna Mir-BHRF1-2 Targets PRDM1/Blimp1: Potential Role in EBV Lymphomagenesis
4417 – A Phase 1 Study of the BET-Bromodomain Inhibitor OTX015 in Patients with Non-Leukemic Hematologic Malignancies

Hodgkin Lymphoma
501 – Results of a Phase II Trial of Brentuximab Vedotin As First Line Salvage Therapy in Relapsed/Refractory HL Prior to AHCT
4400 – Circulating Memory T Cells Isolated from Hodgkin Lymphoma Patients Display Evidence of Exhaustion and Chronic Activation

Mantle Cell Lymphoma
625 – Sustained Remission with the Combination Biologic Doublet of Lenalidomide Plus Rituximab As Initial Treatment for Mantle Cell Lymphoma: A Multi-Center Phase II Study Report
2250 – Acquired in Vitro Resistance to Ibrutinib Is Associated with Transcriptional Re-Programming and Sustained Survival Signaling in Waldenströms Macroglobulinemia and Mantle Cell Lymphoma, Independent of BTK Cys481Mutation
3047 – Poor Overall Survival of Patients with Ibrutinib-Resistant Mantle Cell Lymphoma
4453 – Single-Agent Ibrutinib Demonstrates Safety and Durability of Response at 2 Years Follow-up in Patients with Relapsed or Refractory Mantle Cell Lymphoma: Updated Results of an International, Multicenter, Open-Label Phase 2 Study
4461 – Safety Results from the United States Cohort of the Ibrutinib Early Access Treatment Protocol (EAP: MCL4001) in Patients with Relapsed or Refractory Mantle Cell Lymphoma
4471 – Efficacy and Safety of Single-Agent Ibrutinib in Patients with Mantle Cell Lymphoma Who Progressed after Bortezomib Therapy

Marginal Zone Lymphoma
705 – The Coding Genome of Nodal Marginal Zone Lymphoma Reveals Recurrent Molecular Alterations of PTPRD and Other Jak/Stat Signaling Genes

Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma
60 – Protein Arginine Methyltransferase 5 Directly Targets and Epigenetically Silences microRNAs miR33b and miR96 to Support Constitutive Cyclin D1 Activity in Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma
3063 – Durable Responses Following Treatment with the PI3K-Delta Inhibitor Idelalisib in Combination with Rituximab, Bendamustine, or Both, in Recurrent Indolent Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma: Phase I/II Results

T-cell Lymphoma
510 – Integrin αvβ3 Transduces Survival and Angiogenic Signals to T Cell Lymphomas and Is a Therapeutic Target
810 – Transcription Regulation Targeting in Peripheral T Cell Lymphomas Induces Apoptosis and Sensitization to BCL2 Inhibitors

Waldenstrom’s Macroglobulinemia
1689 – The Selective Bcl-2 Inhibitor ABT-199 Synergizes with BTK or Proteasome Inhibitors to Induce Potent Cell Death in Preclinical Models of Bortezomib or Ibrutinib-Resistant Waldenströms Macroglobulinemia
2250 – Acquired in Vitro Resistance to Ibrutinib Is Associated with Transcriptional Re-Programming and Sustained Survival Signaling in Waldenströms Macroglobulinemia and Mantle Cell Lymphoma, Independent of BTK Cys481Mutation
3115 – Therapeutic Sensitivity of CD20- Waldenströms Macroglobulinemia Cells Is Determined By Underlying Genomic and Epigenetic Events
3116 – Targeted Disruption of USP14 and UCHL5 with the Novel Deubiquitinase Enzyme (DUB) Inhibitor, VLX1570, Induces Immense Proteotoxicity and Cell Death in Malignant Plasma Cells
3551 – Methylation Patterns in Waldenströms Macroglobulinemia Cells That Are Inherently Resistant or Have Acquired Resistance to Bortezomib, Converge on the TP63 and Cepba Family of Transcription Factors

New Clinical Trial: A Phase 1 Open Label Study of ACP-196 in Patients with Waldenstrom’s Macroglobulinemia

The Weill Cornell Lymphoma Program has recently opened a new clinical trial for men and women with diffuse large B-cell lymphoma. The study sponsor is Acerta Pharma BV, and the principal investigator at Weill Cornell is Dr. Richard Furman. For more information about the study, please call Amelyn Rodgriguez, RN at (212) 746-1362 or e-mail Amelyn at

Key Eligibility

  • Men and women age 18 and older with a confirmed diagnosis of Waldenstrom’s Macroglobulinemia
  • Previously treated with at least one prior therapy
  • Cannot have received prior therapy with a BTK inhibitor
  • Must be disease free from a former malignancy for at least two years
  • Detailed eligibility reviewed when you contact the study team. 

Study Details

This clinical trial is for men and woman with a form of cancer called Waldenstrom’s Macroglobulinemia (WM) who have relapsed or not responded to at least one prior therapy. Inhibition of Bruton’s tyrosine kinase (BTK) has been established as an effective means for treating WM.  ACP-196 is an oral, novel inhibitor of BTK with increased specificity for the target and fewer drug interactions than other BTK inhibitors being studied.  Subjects will receive different doses ACP-196 (depending upon when they enter the trial) in order to determine the side effects and effective dose of ACP-196.

Treatment Plans

Subjects will be assigned to one of two treatment groups:

Cohort 1: ACP-196 100 mg twice a day (BID) for 28 days
Cohort 2: ACP-196 200 mg once a day (QD) for 28 days


New Clinical Trial: Efficacy of ACP-196 in Patients with Relapsed or Refractory de Novo Activated B-cell (ABC) Subtype of Diffuse Large B-Cell Lymphoma (DLBCL)

The Weill Cornell Lymphoma Program has recently opened a new clinical trial for men and women with diffuse large B-cell lymphoma. The study sponsor is Acerta Pharma BV, and the principal investigator at Weill Cornell is Dr. Jia Ruan. For more information about the study, please call Amelyn Rodgriguez, RN at (212) 746-1362 or e-mail Amelyn at

Key Eligibility

  • Men and women greater than or equal to 18 years of age
  • Confirmed de novo ABC DLBCL, and subjects must have archival tissue available for central pathology review
  • Recurrence of disease after a complete response or progressive disease at the completion of the treatment regimen preceding entry to the study
  • Detailed eligibility will be reviewed when you contact the study team

Study Details

The purpose of this study is to evaluate the pharmacokinetics (PK), pharmacodynamics (PD), safety, and efficacy of ACP-196 in treating subjects relapsed or refractory de novo ABC diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL).

Clinical Studies have shown that targeting the B-cell receptor (BCR) signaling pathway by inhibiting Bruton tyrosine kinase (Btk) produces significant clinical benefit in patients with non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Acerta Pharma BV has developed a novel second generation Btk inhibitor, ACP-196, that achieves significant oral bioavailability and potency.

Treatment Plans

This study is a multi-center, open-label, randomized, parallel group study. No placebo will be administered during this study. Twenty subjects, 10 refractory and 10 relapsed, will be enrolled and will take 100 mg of ACP-196 twice per day.

Treatment will occur for 5 cycles with a 30 day follow-up period following the last dose. Treatment with ACP-196 may be continued for more than 28 days until disease progression or an unacceptable drug-related toxicity occurs. Subjects with disease progression will be removed from the study. All subjects who discontinue study drug will have a safety follow-up visit 30 (±7) days after the last dose of study drug unless they have started another cancer therapy within that time frame.


AACR 2014: How deregulation of histone methyltransferases drive malignant transformation of B-cells

wendybeguelinBy Wendy Béguelin, PhD

DLBCLs are a heterogeneous group of diseases initiating from germinal center (GC) B cells. GC B cells are uniquely specialized to tolerate rapid proliferation, and physiological genomic instability, thus generating a diverse set of clones of cells encoding high affinity antibodies. The GC phenotype poses a significant risk in the malignant transformation to B cells, with epigenetic regulatory complexes playing a critical role in lymphomagenesis. During a symposium session at the recent American Association for Cancer Research, the Melnick Lab, reported how the deregulation of histone methyltransferases causes the malignant transformation of B-cells.

EZH2, which epigenetically silences genes through histone 3 lysine 27 methylation is upregulated in normal and malignant GC B cells. EZH2 is often affected by gain of function mutations in lymphomas that alter its enzymatic specificity. EZH2 mediates GC formation by transiently suppressing checkpoint genes and terminal differentiation genes through formation of bivalent chromatin domains. EZH2 somatic mutations induce germinal center hyperplasia and malignant transformation, and cooperate with other oncogenes such as BCL2. EZH2 specific inhibitors can suppress the growth of GC derived lymphoma cells in vitro and in vivo, and are currently being evaluated in early phase clinical trials. DNA methyltransferase 1 (DNMT1) is required for B cells to form GC, and GC B cells display cytosine methylation redistribution as compared to resting or naïve B cells. DLBCL in turn exhibit prominent and heterogeneous disruption of cytosine methylation distribution, with specific and distinct DNA methylation profiles occurring in different lymphoma subtypes.

Epigenetic heterogeneity is associated with unfavorable outcomes in B-cell lymphoma. This suggests that epigenetic diversity may provide a survival advantage to lymphoma cell populations. DNA methyltransferase inhibitors can reprogram lymphoma cells to develop a form of incomplete senescence that allows for a more complete response to chemotherapy treatment. These DNA methyltransferase inhibitors can be safely combined with standard lymphoma therapies for first line treatment of patients with DLBCL. However, further research will be required to confirm this targeted therapy approach for clinical use in patients.


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