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Mol Cancer Ther. 2010 Jul;9(7):2046-56. doi: 10.1158/1535-7163.MCT-10-0033. Epub 2010 Jun 22.

Mcl-1 stability determines mitotic cell fate of human multiple myeloma tumor cells treated with the kinesin spindle protein inhibitor ARRY-520.

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  • 1Translational Oncology, Array BioPharma, Inc., Boulder, Colorado 80301, USA.


Kinesin spindle protein (KSP/Eg5) inhibitors are novel anticancer agents that have thus far shown only modest activity in the clinic. Understanding how to identify patients who may be most sensitive to treatment is clearly needed to improve the development of these molecules. We studied four multiple myeloma cell lines treated with the KSP inhibitor ARRY-520 to identify factors important for initiating apoptosis while cells are arrested in mitosis. The majority (three of four) of cell lines underwent mitotic arrest, with apoptosis occurring in mitosis within 24 to 30 hours. The remaining line (NCI H929) is temporally refractory to ARRY-520 treatment, undergoing mitotic slippage and subsequently peaking in apoptotic markers after 72 hours of treatment, while most cells are in interphase. Interestingly, loss of the antiapoptotic protein myeloid cell leukemia 1 (Mcl-1) coincided with mitotic cell death. Stabilization of Mcl-1 resulted in a delayed onset of apoptosis, whereas enforced downregulation of Mcl-1 increased cell death in response to KSP inhibition. Thus, variation in responses to KSP inhibition is governed by a balance between survival proteins and spindle checkpoint integrity. Cells relying on short-lived survival proteins during mitosis are more likely to undergo apoptosis in response to KSP inhibition. We propose that patients with hematologic malignancies, which rely on Mcl-1, would therefore be good candidates for treatment with KSP inhibitors.

(c)2010 AACR.

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