Transcription factor SOX 11 is encoded by the SOX11 gene. Altogether, this protein is known to play a role in embryonic neurogenesis and tissue formation. However, an estimated 90% of patients with mantle cell lymphoma (MCL) express high levels of SOX 11 protein, making it a potential therapeutic target. According to Medical XPress, researchers at Mount Sinai recently determined that small-molecule SOX 11 inhibitors could provide a beneficial treatment option and address treatment-resistant MCL.
Although not yet available, you can find the study “SOX11 inhibitors are cytotoxic in mantle cell lymphoma” published soon in Clinical Cancer Research.
SOX 11 Inhibitors
Although current treatments exist for MCL, many are somewhat ineffective. MCL patients typically survive for a median of 7-8 years following diagnosis. However, during this time, many patients relapse, even while using chemotherapy, ibrutinib, or other treatment options. Some researchers suggested that SOX 11 could be “undruggable” and thus completely cellularly resistant to any therapeutic options. Yet addressing SOX 11 is necessary, as it acts as a “master switch” for genes.
Within this study, researchers evaluated over 12 million compounds which interact with DNA at the SOX 11 surface. During this time, the research team discovered a small number of molecules which they believed could interrupt this interaction. As a result, SOX 11 would not be able to spur the development of MCL.
Next, researchers tested these molecules. Ultimately, they identified 3 molecules which showed promise in inhibiting SOX 11. These small molecule inhibitors work by inducing cellular toxicity during the development of MCL tumors. Additionally, the molecules inhibit BTK phosphorylation, preventing the cells from becoming malignant. Through the research, performed in human cells outside of the body, these small molecules showed promise as a solo treatment or in conjunction with other therapies.
Additional research is needed before these molecules can be tested in human patients. However, the discovery of these molecules does show that it could be possible to turn “undruggable” targets into druggable ones, changing the treatment landscape.
Mantle Cell Lymphoma (MCL)
Mantle cell lymphoma (MCL) is a form of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (NHL) cancer which affects the lymphatic system. This B-cell lymphoma develops from cancerous white blood cells, causing a variety of health issues. In many cases, patients are asymptomatic during early cancerous stages. However, as the cancer progresses, additional symptoms appear. Initially, many patients experience swollen (but often painless) lymph nodes in the neck, throat, elbows, shoulders, and chest. Once symptoms appear, they include:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Unintended weight loss (more than 10% body weight)
- Appetite loss
- Persistent swollen lymph nodes
- Fever and night sweats
- A sense of fullness often caused by an enlarged liver, spleen, or tonsils
- Lower back pain/pressure that also affects the legs
- Diarrhea or other bowel issues
- Indigestion or heartburn
If MCL spreads throughout the body, it could cause life-threatening complications, especially if the brain or spinal cord are impacted. Potential symptoms of MCL in the brain or spinal cord include:
- Changes in behavior and personality
- Loss of balance and coordination
- Severe headache