We demonstrate that blockade of the MEK/ERK signaling module, using the small-molecule inhibitors PD184352 or PD325901 (PD), strikingly enhances arsenic trioxide (ATO)-induced cytotoxicity in human myeloma cell lines (HMCLs) and in tumor cells from patients with multiple myeloma (MM) through a caspase-dependent mechanism. In HMCLs retaining a functional p53, PD treatment greatly enhances the ATO-induced p53 accumulation and p73, a p53 paralog, cooperates with p53 in caspase activation and apoptosis induction. In HMCLs carrying a nonfunctional p53, cotreatment with PD strikingly elevates the (DR4 + DR5)/(DcR1 + DcR2) tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-related apoptosis-inducing ligand (TRAIL) receptors ratio and caspase-8 activation of ATO-treated cells. In MM cells, irrespective of p53 status, the combined PD/ATO treatment increases the level of the proapoptotic protein Bim (PD-mediated) and decreases antiapoptotic protein Mcl-1 (ATO-mediated). Moreover, Bim physically interacts with both DR4 and DR5 TRAIL receptors in PD/ATO-treated cells, and loss of Bim interferes with the activation of both extrinsic and intrinsic apoptotic pathways in response to PD/ATO. Finally, PD/ATO treatment induces tumor regression, prolongs survival, and is well tolerated in vivo in a human plasmacytoma xenograft model. These preclinical studies provide the framework for testing PD325901 and ATO combination therapy in clinical trials aimed to improve patient outcome in MM.
Targeting MEK/MAPK signal transduction module potentiates ATO-induced apoptosis in multiple myeloma cells through multiple signaling pathways / LUNGHI P; GIULIANI N; MAZZERA L; LOMBARDI G; RICCA M; CORRADI A; CANTONI AM; SALVATORE L; RICCIONI R; COSTANZO A; TESTA U; LEVRERO M; RIZZOLI V.; BONATI A. - In: BLOOD. - ISSN 0006-4971. - 112(6)(2008), pp. 2450-2462. [10.1182/blood-2007-10-114348]