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Oncotarget. 2017 Jun 16;8(44):76085-76098. doi: 10.18632/oncotarget.18543. eCollection 2017 Sep 29.

Novel tropolones induce the unfolded protein response pathway and apoptosis in multiple myeloma cells.

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Department of Internal Medicine, University of Nebraska Medical Center, Omaha, NE, USA.
Department of Medicine, Roswell Park Cancer Institute, Buffalo, NY, USA.
Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT, USA.
Biostatistics and Bioinformatics, Roswell Park Cancer Institute, Buffalo, NY, USA.
Brown University, Providence, RI, USA.


Tropolones are small organic compounds with metal-directing moieties. Tropolones inhibit the proliferation of cancer cell lines, possibly through their effects on metalloenzymes such as select histone deacetylases (HDACs). Pan-HDAC inhibitors are therapeutically beneficial in the treatment of multiple myeloma, however there is interest in the use of more selective HDAC inhibitor therapy to minimize adverse side effects. We hypothesized that tropolones might have anti-myeloma activities. To this end, a series of novel α-substituted tropolones were evaluated for effects on multiple myeloma cells. While all tested tropolones showed some level of cytotoxicity, MO-OH-Nap had consistently low IC50 values between 1-11 μM in all three cell lines tested and was used for subsequent experiments. MO-OH-Nap was found to induce apoptosis in a concentration-dependent manner. Time course experiments demonstrated that MO-OH-Nap promotes caspase cleavage in a time frame that was distinct from the pan-HDAC inhibitor suberoylanilide hydroxamic acid (SAHA). Furthermore, MO-OH-Nap- and SAHA-treated cells possess unique gene expression patterns, suggesting they promote apoptosis via different mechanisms. In particular, MO-OH-Nap increases the expression of markers associated with endoplasmic reticulum stress and the unfolded protein response. Synergistic cytotoxic effects were observed when cells were treated with the combination of MO-OH-Nap and the proteasome inhibitor bortezomib. However, treatment with MO-OH-Nap did not abrogate the bortezomib-induced increase in aggresomes, consistent with an HDAC6-independent mechanism for the observed synergy. Collectively, these finding support further investigation into the usefulness of α-substituted tropolones as anti-myeloma agents.


apoptosis; histone deacetylase; myeloma; tropolone; unfolded protein response

Conflict of interest statement

CONFLICTS OF INTEREST The authors have no relevant conflicts of interest to disclose.

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