DOI: 10.1182/blood.2023021581 ISSN: 0006-4971

A p53 score derived from TP53 CRISPR/Cas9 HMCLs predicts survival and reveals major role of BAX in BH3 mimetics response

Romane Durand, Geraldine Descamps, Christelle Dousset, Celine Bellanger, Sophie Maïga, Jean-Baptiste Alberge, Jennifer Derrien, Jonathan Cruard, Stephane Minvielle, Nicoletta Libera Lilli, CATHERINE GODON, Yannick Le Bris, Benoit Tessoulin, Martine Amiot, Patricia Gomez-Bougie, Cyrille Touzeau, Philippe Moreau, David Chiron, Agnes Moreau-Aubry, Catherine Pellat-Deceunynck
  • Cell Biology
  • Hematology
  • Immunology
  • Biochemistry

To establish a strict p53-dependent gene expression profile, TP53-/- clones were derived from TP53+/+ and TP53-/mut t(4;14) human myeloma cell lines (HMCLs) using CRISPR/Cas9 technology. From the 17 dysregulated genes shared between the TP53-/- clones from TP53+/+ HMCLs, we established a functional p53 score, involving 13 genes specifically downregulated upon p53 silencing. This functional score segregated clones and myeloma cell lines, as well as other cancer cell lines according to their TP53 status. The score was efficient to identify myeloma patient samples with biallelic TP53 inactivation and was predictive of overall survival in MMRF-coMMpass and CASSIOPEA cohorts. At the functional level, we showed that among the 13 genes, p53-regulated BAX expression correlated to, and directly impacted, the MCL1 BH3 mimetic S63845 sensitivity of myeloma cells by decreasing MCL1-BAX complexes. However, resistance to S63845 was overcome by combining MCL1 and BCL2 BH3 mimetics which displayed synergistic efficacy. BH3 mimetics combination was efficient in 97% of patient samples with or without del17p. Nevertheless, scRNAseq analysis showed that myeloma cells surviving to the combination had lower p53 score, showing that myeloma cells with higher p53 score were more sensitive to BH3 mimetics. Taken together, we established a functional p53 score that identifies myeloma cells with biallelic TP53 invalidation, demonstrated that p53-regulated BAX is critical for optimal cell response to BH3 mimetics, and showed that MCL1 and BCL2 BH3 mimetics combination may be of interest for patients with biallelic TP53 invalidation, for whom there is still an unmet medical need.

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