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Clin Cancer Res. 2009 May 15;15(10):3354-65. doi: 10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-08-2365. Epub 2009 May 5.

PCI-24781 induces caspase and reactive oxygen species-dependent apoptosis through NF-kappaB mechanisms and is synergistic with bortezomib in lymphoma cells.

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Division of Hematology/Oncology, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and the Robert H Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center, Chicago, IL 60611, USA.

Erratum in

  • Clin Cancer Res. 2009 Jul 15;15(14):4784-5.



We investigated the cytotoxicity and mechanisms of cell death of the broad-spectrum histone deacetylase (HDAC) inhibitor PCI-24781, alone and combined with bortezomib in Hodgkin lymphoma and non-Hodgkin lymphoma cell lines and primary lymphoproliferative (CLL/SLL) cells.


Apoptosis, mitochondrial membrane potential, cell cycle analysis, and reactive oxygen species (ROS) were measured by flow cytometry, whereas caspase activation was determined by Western blot. Nuclear factor kappaB (NF-kappaB)-related mRNAs were quantified by reverse transcription-PCR, NF-kappaB-related proteins by Western blotting, and NF-kappaB DNA-binding activity by electromobility shift assay. Finally, gene expression profiling was analyzed.


PCI-24781 induced concentration-dependent apoptosis that was associated with prominent G(0)/G(1) arrest, decreased S-phase, increased p21 protein, and increased ROS in Hodgkin lymphoma and non-Hodgkin lymphoma cell lines. Dose-dependent apoptosis with PCI-24781 was also seen among primary CLL/SLL cells. PCI-24781-induced apoptosis was shown to be ROS- and caspase-dependent. Combined PCI-24781/bortezomib treatment resulted in strong synergistic apoptosis in all non-Hodgkin lymphoma lines (combination indices, 0.19-0.6) and was additive in Hodgkin lymphoma and primary CLL/SLL cells. Further, PCI-24781/bortezomib resulted in increased caspase cleavage, mitochondrial depolarization, and histone acetylation compared with either agent alone. Gene expression profiling showed that PCI-24781 alone significantly down-regulated several antioxidant genes, proteasome components, and NF-kappaB pathway genes, effects that were enhanced further with bortezomib. Reverse transcription-PCR confirmed down-regulation of NF-kappaB1 (p105), c-Myc, and IkappaB-kinase subunits, where NF-kappaB DNA binding activity was decreased.


We show that PCI-24781 results in increased ROS and NF-kappaB inhibition, leading to caspase-dependent apoptosis. We also show that bortezomib is synergistic with PCI-24781. This combination or PCI-24781 alone has potential therapeutic value in lymphoma.

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