Berberine exerts anti-tumor activity in diffuse large B-cell lymphoma by modulating c-myc/CD47 axis.
Biochem Pharmacol. 2021 Apr 27:114576. Epub 2021 Apr 27. PMID: 33930347
Diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL) is the most common subtype of non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) with high clinical heterogeneity and poor prognosis. Immune escape mediated by CD47 overexpression contributes to the limited efficacy of rituximab, an anti-CD20 antibody, which indicates a target to improve the efficacy of DLBCL treatment. Here, we validated berberine, a natural compound, as a suppressor of CD47 and revealed the involved mechanism and biological function in DLBCL. Berberine downregulated the expression of CD47 in DLBCL at the transcriptional level by suppressing c-myc expression. Berberine-induced CD47 inhibition enhanced the phagocytosis of macrophages, thereby eliminating DLBCL cells in vitro and in vivo. Interestingly, berberine enhanced the efficiency of anti-CD47 antibody and rituximab-mediated phagocytosis. Moreover, a novel prognostic model based on the combination of CD47 and CD68, a biomarker of macrophages, was established in DLBCL. Our results highlighted for the first time that berberine could restore macrophage function in the tumor microenvironment, enhance rituximab-mediated phagocytosis and promote anti-CD47 antibody function via suppressing CD47 expression, which revealed a new anti-tumor mechanism of berberine and provided novel insights into the rituximab-based immunochemotherapy and CD47-targeted immunotherapy in DLBCL.