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Blood. 2003 Nov 15;102(10):3765-74. Epub 2003 Jul 31.

The proteasome inhibitor bortezomib interacts synergistically with histone deacetylase inhibitors to induce apoptosis in Bcr/Abl+ cells sensitive and resistant to STI571.

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Department of Medicine, Virginia Commonweatlth University, Medical College of Virginia, Richmond VA, 23298, USA.


Interactions between the proteasome inhibitor bortezomib and histone deacetylase inhibitors (HDIs) have been examined in Bcr/Abl+ human leukemia cells (K562 and LAMA 84). Coexposure of cells (24-48 hours) to minimally toxic concentrations of bortezomib + either suberoylanilide hydroxamic acid (SAHA) or sodium butyrate (SB) resulted in a striking increase in mitochondrial injury, caspase activation, and apoptosis, reflected by caspases-3 and -8 cleavage and poly(adenosine diphosphate-ribose) polymerase (PARP) degradation. These events were accompanied by down-regulation of the Raf-1/mitogen-induced extracellular kinase (MEK)/extracellular signal-related kinase (ERK) pathway as well as diminished expression of Bcr/Abl and cyclin D1, cleavage of p21CIP1 and phosphorylation of the retinoblastoma protein (pRb), and induction of the stress-related kinases Jun kinase (JNK) and p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK). Transient transfection of cells with a constitutively active MEK construct significantly protected them from bortezomib/SAHA-mediated lethality. Coadministration of bortezomib and SAHA resulted in increased reactive oxygen species (ROS) generation and diminished nuclear factor kappa B (NF-kappa B) activation; moreover, the free radical scavenger L-N-acetylcyteine (LNAC) blocked bortezomib/SAHA-related ROS generation, induction of JNK and p21CIP1, and apoptosis. Lastly, this regimen potently induced apoptosis in STI571 (imatinib mesylate)-resistant K562 cells and CD34+ mononuclear cells obtained from a patient with STI571-resistant disease, as well as in Bcr/Abl- leukemia cells (eg, HL-60, U937, Jurkat). Together, these findings raise the possibility that combined proteasome/histone deacetylase inhibition may represent a novel strategy in leukemia, including apoptosis-resistant Bcr/Abl+ hematologic malignancies.

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