The HSP90-MYC-CDK9 network drives therapeutic resistance in mantle cell lymphoma

Fangfang Yan, Vivian Jiang, Alexa Jordan, Yuxuan Che, Yang Liu, Qingsong Cai, Yu Xue, Yijing Li, Joseph McIntosh, Zhihong Chen, Jovanny Vargas, Lei Nie, Yixin Yao, Heng Huan Lee, Wei Wang, John Nelson R. Bigcal, Maria Badillo, Jitendra Meena, Christopher Flowers, Jia ZhouZhongming Zhao, Lukas M. Simon, Michael Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Brexucabtagene autoleucel CAR-T therapy is highly efficacious in overcoming resistance to Bruton’s tyrosine kinase inhibitors (BTKi) in mantle cell lymphoma. However, many patients relapse post CAR-T therapy with dismal outcomes. To dissect the underlying mechanisms of sequential resistance to BTKi and CAR-T therapy, we performed single-cell RNA sequencing analysis for 66 samples from 25 patients treated with BTKi and/or CAR-T therapy and conducted in-depth bioinformatics™ analysis. Our analysis revealed that MYC activity progressively increased with sequential resistance. HSP90AB1 (Heat shock protein 90 alpha family class B member 1), a MYC target, was identified as early driver of CAR-T resistance. CDK9 (Cyclin-dependent kinase 9), another MYC target, was significantly upregulated in Dual-R samples. Both HSP90AB1 and CDK9 expression were correlated with MYC activity levels. Pharmaceutical co-targeting of HSP90 and CDK9 synergistically diminished MYC activity, leading to potent anti-MCL activity. Collectively, our study revealed that HSP90-MYC-CDK9 network is the primary driving force of therapeutic resistance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number14
JournalExperimental Hematology and Oncology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2024


  • CAR-T therapy
  • Mantle cell lymphoma
  • Resistance
  • Single-cell RNA sequencing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hematology
  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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