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Blood. 2004 Sep 15;104(6):1825-32. Epub 2004 May 25.

The HMG-CoA reductase inhibitor simvastatin overcomes cell adhesion-mediated drug resistance in multiple myeloma by geranylgeranylation of Rho protein and activation of Rho kinase.

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Laboratory for Molecular Haematology, Department of Haematology and Oncology, Klinikum der Universit√§t M√ľnchen, Medizinische Klinik-Innenstadt, Ziemssenstrasse 1, 80336 Munich, Germany.


Primary drug resistance is a major problem in multiple myeloma, an incurable disease of the bone marrow. Cell adhesion-mediated drug resistance (CAM-DR) causes strong primary resistance. By coculturing multiple myeloma cells with bone marrow stromal cells (BMSCs), we observed a CAM-DR of about 50% to melphalan, treosulfan, doxorubicin, dexamethasone, and bortezomib, which was not reversed by secreted soluble factors. Targeting the adhesion molecules lymphocyte function-associated antigen 1 (LFA-1) and very late antigen 4 (VLA-4) by monoclonal antibodies or by the LFA-1 inhibitor LFA703 reduced CAM-DR significantly. Only statins such as simvastatin and lovastatin, however, were able to completely restore chemosensitivity. All these effects were not mediated by deadhesion or reduced secretion of interleukin 6. Targeting geranylgeranyl transferase (GGTase) and Rho kinase by specific inhibitors (GGTI-298 and Y-27632), but not inhibition of farnesyl transferase (FTase) by FTI-277, showed similar reduction of CAM-DR. Addition of geranylgeranyl pyrophosphate (GG-PP), but not of farnesyl pyrophosphate (F-PP), was able to inhibit simvastatin-induced CAM-DR reversal. Our data suggest that the 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl-coenzyme-A (HMG-CoA)/GG-PP/Rho/Rho-kinase pathway mediates CAM-DR and that targeting this pathway may improve the efficacy of antimyeloma therapies by reduction of CAM-DR.

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