Repurposing multiple sclerosis drug dimethyl fumarate, a promising fast track candidate for systemic cutaneous T cell lymphoma treatment
In their recent publication in Blood, Nicolay et al. (1) report that the immune-modulatory drug dimethyl fumarate (DMF), which is approved for treatment of relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (MS) exerts profound effects on cutaneous T cell lymphoma (CTCL) cells from human patients in vitro and inhibits tumor growth and distant metastasis in two different animal models of CTCL. Mechanistically, DMF restored the sensitivity of CTCL cells towards apoptosis by down-modulating elevated NF-κB activity in these cells as well as NF-κB-dependent target gene expression in tumor cells. Importantly, this restoration of apoptosis sensitivity was observed only in tumor cells but not in healthy lymphocytes, hence pointing towards a highly attractive tumor-specific mechanism with minor side effects and a well-known safety profile.