Intracellular glutathione determines bortezomib cytotoxicity in multiple myeloma cells
Journal article, Peer reviewed
MetadataShow full item record
Original versionBlood Cancer Journal. 2016, 6, e446. 10.1038/bcj.2016.56
Multiple myeloma (myeloma in short) is an incurable cancer of antibody-producing plasma cells that comprise 13% of all hematological malignancies. The proteasome inhibitor bortezomib has improved treatment significantly, but inherent and acquired resistance to the drug remains a problem. We here show that bortezomib-induced cytotoxicity was completely dampened when cells were supplemented with cysteine or its derivative, glutathione (GSH) in ANBL-6 and INA-6 myeloma cell lines. GSH is a major component of the antioxidative defense in eukaryotic cells. Increasing intracellular GSH levels fully abolished bortezomib-induced cytotoxicity and transcriptional changes. Elevated intracellular GSH levels blocked bortezomib-induced nuclear factor erythroid 2-related factor 2 (NFE2L2, NRF2)-associated stress responses, including upregulation of the xCT subunit of the Xc- cystine-glutamate antiporter. INA-6 cells conditioned to increasing bortezomib doses displayed reduced bortezomib sensitivity and elevated xCT levels. Inhibiting Xc- activity potentiated bortezomib-induced cytotoxicity in myeloma cell lines and primary cells, and re-established sensitivity to bortezomib in bortezomib-conditioned cells. We propose that intracellular GSH level is the main determinant of bortezomib-induced cytotoxicity in a subset of myeloma cells, and that combined targeting of the proteasome and the Xc- cystine-glutamate antiporter can circumvent bortezomib resistance.