Echinomycin As A Promising Therapeutic Agent Against Kshv-related Malignancies

Jungang Chen, Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute
Zhen Lin, Tulane University Health Sciences Center
Jiao Song, Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute
Karlie Plaisance-Bonstaff, LSU Health Sciences Center - New Orleans
Jennifer James, Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute
Shengyu Mu, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences
Steven R. Post, Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute
Lu Dai, Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute
Zhiqiang Qin, Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute


Kaposi’s sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV) is the etiologic agent of several human cancers, including Kaposi’s sarcoma (KS) and primary effusion lymphoma (PEL), which preferentially arise in immunocompromised patients while lack of effective therapeutic options. Oncoproteins Myc and hypoxia-inducible factor-1α (HIF1α) have been found closely related to KSHV infection, replication and oncogenesis. However, the strategies of dual targeting these two oncoproteins have never been developed and tested for treatments of KSHV-related malignancies. In the current study, we report that treatment of echinomycin dramatically regresses cell growth both in vitro-cultured KSHV + tumor cells and in vivo KS or PEL xenograft mice models, through simultaneously inhibiting Myc and HIF1α expression. Echinomycin treatment also induces viral lytic gene expression whereas not increasing infectious virions production from KSHV + tumor cells. Our comparative transcriptomic analysis has identified a bunch of new Echinomycin-regulated, Myc- and HIF1α-related genes contributed to KSHV pathogenesis, including KDM4B and Tau, which are required for the survival of KSHV + tumor cells with functional validation. These data together reveal that dual targeting Myc and HIF1α such as using Echinomycin may represent a new and promising option for treatments of these virus-associated malignancies.