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Blood. 2012 Jan 19;119(3):810-6. doi: 10.1182/blood-2011-07-369686. Epub 2011 Nov 23.

Inhibition of the MUC1-C oncoprotein induces multiple myeloma cell death by down-regulating TIGAR expression and depleting NADPH.

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  • 1Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02115, USA.


The MUC1-C oncoprotein is aberrantly expressed in most multiple myeloma cells. However, the functional significance of MUC1-C expression in multiple myeloma is not known. The present studies demonstrate that treatment of multiple myeloma cells with a MUC1-C inhibitor is associated with increases in reactive oxygen species (ROS), oxidation of mitochondrial cardiolipin, and loss of the mitochondrial transmembrane potential. The MUC1-C inhibitor-induced increases in ROS were also associated with down-regulation of the p53-inducible regulator of glycolysis and apoptosis (TIGAR). In concert with the decrease in TIGAR expression, which regulates the pentose phosphate pathway, treatment with the MUC1-C inhibitor reduced production of NADPH, and in turn glutathione (GSH) levels. TIGAR protects against oxidative stress-induced apoptosis. The suppression of TIGAR and NADPH levels thus contributed to ROS-mediated late apoptosis/necrosis of multiple myeloma cells. These findings indicate that multiple myeloma cells are dependent on MUC1-C and TIGAR for maintenance of redox balance and that targeting MUC1-C activates a cascade involving TIGAR suppression that contributes to multiple myeloma cell death.

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