The small-molecule Bcl-2 inhibitor HA14-1 interacts synergistically with flavopiridol to induce mitochondrial injury and apoptosis in human myeloma cells through a free radical-dependent and Jun NH2-terminal kinase-dependent mechanism

Xin-Yan Pei, Yun Dai, Steven Grant
Molecular Cancer Therapeutics 2004, 3 (12): 1513-24
Interactions between the cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitor flavopiridol and the small-molecule Bcl-2 antagonist HA14-1 were examined in human multiple myeloma cells. Whereas individual treatment of U266 myeloma cells with 10 micromol/L HA14-1 or 100 nmol/L flavopiridol had little effect, exposure of cells to flavopiridol (6 hours) followed by HA14-1 (18 hours) resulted in a striking increase in mitochondrial dysfunction (cytochrome c and Smac/DIABLO release; loss of mitochondrial membrane potential), activation of the caspase cascade, apoptosis, and diminished clonogenic survival. Similar findings were noted in other myeloma cell lines (e.g., MM.1S, RPMI8226, and NCI-H929) as well as in those resistant to dexamethasone and cytotoxic agents (e.g., MM.1R, 8226/Dox40, and 8226/LR5). Combined exposure to flavopiridol and HA14-1 was associated with down-regulation of Mcl-1 and Bcl-xL, Bid cleavage, and mitochondrial translocation of Bax. Flavopiridol/HA14-1-treated cells also exhibited a pronounced activation of Jun NH2-terminal kinase, a modest activation of p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase, and down-regulation of cyclin D1. Flavopiridol/HA14-1-induced apoptosis was associated with a marked increase in reactive oxygen species generation; moreover,both events were attenuated by the antioxidant N-acetyl-l-cysteine. Finally, in contrast to dexamethasone, flavopiridol/HA14-1-induced lethality was unaffected by exogenous interleukin-6 or insulin-like growth factor-I. Together, these findings indicate that flavopiridol and the small-molecule Bcl-2 antagonist HA14-1 cooperate to trigger oxidant injury, mitochondrial dysfunction, caspase activation, and apoptosis in human multiple myeloma cells and suggest that this approach may warrant further evaluation as an antimyeloma strategy.

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