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Br J Cancer. 2007 Oct 22;97(8):1099-105. Epub 2007 Sep 25.

Induction of heme oxygenase-1 by cobalt protoporphyrin enhances the antitumour effect of bortezomib in adult T-cell leukaemia cells.

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Department of Internal Medicine, Tokyo Medical University, Tokyo, Japan.


Adult T-cell leukaemia (ATL) is a lethal neoplasia derived from HTLV-1-infected T lymphocytes frequently exhibiting nuclear factor-kappaB (NF-kappaB) activation. Despite the use of various treatment regimens, the prognosis of ATL is poor, and new treatment strategies are urgently needed. We therefore explored the effect and the molecular mechanism of a proteasome inhibitor, bortezomib, in ATL cells. We found bortezomib-induced cell death, and bortezomib suppressed constitutive NF-kappaB activation via I-kappaB stabilisation in three ATL cell lines (TaY, MT-2 and MT-4). An oligonucleotide DNA microarray analysis of TaY cells revealed upregulation of genes encoding heat shock proteins (HSPA1A, STIP1, HSPA1B, and HSPCA), genes related to protein folding (CDC37 and ANAPC5), Fas-associated factor 1(FAF1) and an oxidative stress-related gene, heme oxygenase-1(HMOX-1), known to be a target gene of hypoxia-inducible gene-1 alpha (HIF-1 alpha). Cobalt protoporphyrin induced HMOX-1, instead of HIF-1 alpha expression and increased bortezomib-induced apoptosis in the presence of pharmacologically effective doses of bortezomib. In contrast, zinc protoporphyrin downregulated HMOX-1 expression, thereby partially inhibiting bortezomib-induced cell death. This indicates that HMOX-1 may modulate anticancer effects of bortezomib in ATL cells, and could be a molecular target in treating ATL patients.

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