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PLoS One. 2013 Jul 18;8(7):e69509. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0069509. Print 2013.

Inhibition of inducible heat shock protein-70 (hsp72) enhances bortezomib-induced cell death in human bladder cancer cells.

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Department of Urology, U. T. M. D. Anderson Cancer Center Houston, Texas, USA.


The proteasome inhibitor bortezomib (Velcade) is a promising new agent for bladder cancer therapy, but inducible cytoprotective mechanisms may limit its potential efficacy. We used whole genome mRNA expression profiling to study the effects of bortezomib on stress-induced gene expression in a panel of human bladder cancer cell lines. Bortezomib induced strong upregulation of the inducible HSP70 isoforms HSPA1A and HSPA1B isoforms of Hsp72 in 253J B-V and SW780 (HSPA1A(high)) cells, but only induced the HSPA1B isoform in UM-UC10 and UM-UC13 (HSPA1A(low)) cells. Bortezomib stimulated the binding of heat shock factor-1 (HSF1) to the HSPA1A promoter in 253JB-V but not in UM-UC13 cells. Methylation-specific PCR revealed that the HSPA1A promoter was methylated in the HSPA1A(low) cell lines (UM-UC10 and UM-UC13), and exposure to the chromatin demethylating agent 5-aza-2'-deoxycytidine restored HSPA1A expression. Overexpression of Hsp72 promoted bortezomib resistance in the UM-UC10 and UM-UC13 cells, whereas transient knockdown of HSPA1B further sensitized these cells to bortezomib, and exposure to the chemical HSF1 inhibitor KNK-437 promoted bortezomib sensitivity in the 253J B-V cells. Finally, shRNA-mediated stable knockdown of Hsp72 in 253J B-V promoted sensitivity to bortezomib in vitro and in tumor xenografts in vivo. Together, our results provide proof-of-concept for using Hsp72 inhibitors to promote bortezomib sensitivity in bladder cancers and suggest that selective targeting of HSPA1B could produce synthetic lethality in tumors that display HSPA1A promoter methylation.

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