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Clin Cancer Res. 2009 Jan 15;15(2):520-31. doi: 10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-08-1612.

Bortezomib, dexamethasone, and fibroblast growth factor receptor 3-specific tyrosine kinase inhibitor in t(4;14) myeloma.

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Department of Medicine/Hematology and Oncology, University of Muenster, Muenster, Germany.



Novel drugs including targeted approaches have changed treatment paradigms for multiple myeloma (MM) and may also have therapeutic potential in the poor-prognosis t(4;14) subset; t(4;14) results in overexpressed and activated fibroblast growth factor receptor 3 (FGFR3). Blocking this receptor tyrosine kinase (RTK) induces apoptosis in t(4;14)+ MM cells and decreases adhesion to bone marrow stromal cells (BMSC). Using combinations of novel drugs, we investigated potential enhancement of single-agent activities within the tumor cells, targeting of the marrow micromilieu, or circumvention of drug resistance in t(4;14)+ MM.


We tested effects on apoptosis and related signaling pathways in the t(4;14)+ MM subset, applying drug combinations including a FGFR3 tyrosine kinase inhibitor (RTKI), the proteasome inhibitor bortezomib, and dexamethasone.


RTKI, bortezomib, and dexamethasone were active as single agents in t(4;14)+ MM. RTK inhibition triggered complementary proapoptotic pathways (e.g., decrease of Mcl-1, down-regulation of p44/42 mitogen-activated protein kinase, and activation of proapoptotic stress-activated protein/c-Jun NH(2)-terminal kinases). Synergistic or additive effects were found by combinations of RTKI with dexamethasone or bortezomib. In selected cases of t(4;14)+ MM, triple combinations were superior to dual combinations tested. Prevention from MM cell apoptosis by BMSC or exogenous interleukin-6 was circumvented by drug combinations. In t(4;14)+, N-ras-mutated NCI-H929 cells, resistance to RTKI was overcome by addition of dexamethasone. Notably, the combination of RTKI and dexamethasone showed additive proapoptotic effects in bortezomib-insensitive t(4;14)+ MM.


Combining novel drugs in poor-prognosis t(4;14)+ MM should take into account at least bortezomib sensitivity and probably Ras mutational status.

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