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Cancer Res. 2004 Dec 1;64(23):8746-53.

Proteasomal degradation of topoisomerase I is preceded by c-Jun NH2-terminal kinase activation, Fas up-regulation, and poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase cleavage in SN38-mediated cytotoxicity against multiple myeloma.

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  • 1Department of Medical Oncology, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts 02215, USA.


Topoisomerase I inhibitors are effective anticancer therapies and have shown activity in hematologic malignancies. Here we show for the first time that SN38, the potent active metabolite of irinotecan, induces c-Jun NH(2)-terminal kinase activation, Fas up-regulation, and caspase 8-mediated apoptosis in multiple myeloma (MM) cells. Proteasomal degradation of nuclear topoisomerase I has been proposed as a resistance mechanism in solid malignancies. SN38-induced proteasomal degradation of topoisomerase I was observed during SN38-mediated cytotoxicity against MM.1S myeloma cell line but occurred after c-Jun NH(2)-terminal kinase activation, Fas up-regulation, and poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase cleavage and failed to protect cells from apoptosis. Differential toxicity was observed against MM cells versus bone marrow stromal cells, and SN38 inhibited adhesion-induced up-regulation of MM cell proliferation when MM cells adhere to bone marrow stromal cells. In addition, SN38 directly inhibited constitutive and inducible interleukin 6 and vascular endothelial growth factor secretion by bone marrow stromal cells. Synergy was observed when SN38 was used in combination with doxorubicin, bortezomib, as well as poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase inhibitor NU1025 and Fas-activator CH11. These findings have clinical significance, because identification of downstream apoptotic signaling after topoisomerase I inhibition will both elucidate mechanisms of resistance and optimize future combination chemotherapy against MM.

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