Nature communications

Induction of synthetic lethality in IDH1-mutated gliomas through inhibition of Bcl-xL.

PMID 29057925


Certain gliomas often harbor a mutation in the activity center of IDH1 (R132H), which leads to the production of the oncometabolite 2-R-2-hydroxyglutarate (2-HG). In six model systems, including patient-derived stem cell-like glioblastoma cultures, inhibition of Bcl-xL induces significantly more apoptosis in IDH1-mutated cells than in wild-type IDH1 cells. Anaplastic astrocytoma samples with mutated IDH1 display lower levels of Mcl-1 than IDH1 wild-type tumors and specific knockdown of Mcl-1 broadly sensitizes glioblastoma cells to Bcl-xL inhibition-mediated apoptosis. Addition of 2-HG to glioblastoma cultures recapitulates the effects of the IDH mutation on intrinsic apoptosis, shuts down oxidative phosphorylation and reduces ATP levels in glioblastoma cells. 2-HG-mediated energy depletion activates AMPK (Threonine 172), blunting protein synthesis and mTOR signaling, culminating in a decline of Mcl-1. In an orthotopic glioblastoma xenograft model expressing mutated IDH1, Bcl-xL inhibition leads to long-term survival. These results demonstrate that IDH1-mutated gliomas are particularly vulnerable to Bcl-xL inhibition.