The bromodomain and extra-terminal domain (BET) proteins are promising therapeutic targets to treat refractory solid tumors; however, inherent resistance remains a major challenge in the clinic. Recently, the emerging role of the oncoprotein B cell lymphoma 6 (BCL6) in tumorigenesis and stress response has been unveiled. Here, we demonstrate that BCL6 was upregulated upon BET inhibition in KRAS-mutant cancers, including non–small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC). We further found that BRD3, not BRD2 or BRD4, directly interacted with BCL6 and maintained the negative autoregulatory circuit of BCL6. Disrupting this negative autoregulation by BET inhibitors (BETi) resulted in a striking increase in BCL6 transcription, which further activated the mTOR signaling pathway through repression of the tumor suppressor death-associated protein kinase 2. Importantly, pharmacological inhibition of either BCL6 or mTOR improved the tumor response and enhanced the sensitivity of KRAS-mutant NSCLC to BETi in both in vitro and in vivo settings. Overall, our findings identify a mechanism of BRD3-mediated BCL6 autoregulation and further develop an effective combinatorial strategy to circumvent BETi resistance in KRAS-driven NSCLC.
Jiawei Guo, Yanan Liu, Jing Lv, Bin Zou, Zhi Chen, Kun Li, Juanjuan Feng, Zhenyu Cai, Lai Wei, Mingyao Liu, Xiufeng Pang