Cell death by bortezomib-induced mitotic catastrophe in natural killer lymphoma cells

Lijun Shen, Wing-Yan Au, Kai-Yau Wong, Norio Shimizu, Junjiro Tsuchiyama, Yok-Lam Kwong, Raymond H Liang, Gopesh Srivastava
Molecular Cancer Therapeutics 2008, 7 (12): 3807-15
The proteasome inhibitor bortezomib (PS-341/Velcade) is used for the treatment of relapsed and refractory multiple myeloma and mantle-cell lymphoma. We recently reported its therapeutic potential against natural killer (NK)-cell neoplasms. Here, we investigated the molecular mechanisms of bortezomib-induced cell death in NK lymphoma cells. NK lymphoma cell lines (SNK-6 and NK-YS) and primary cultures of NK lymphomas treated with bortezomib were examined for alterations in cell viability, apoptosis, cellular senescence, and cell cycle status. Bortezomib primarily induced mitochondrial apoptosis in NK-YS cells and in primary lymphoma cells at the same concentration as reported in myeloma cells. Unexpectedly, SNK-6 cells required a significantly higher median inhibitory concentration of bortezomib (23 nmol/L) than NK-YS and primary lymphoma cells (6-13 nmol/L). Apoptosis was limited in SNK-6 cells due to the extensively delayed turnover of Bcl-2 family members. These cells were killed by bortezomib, albeit at higher pharmacologic concentrations, via mitotic catastrophe-a mitotic cell death associated with M-phase arrest, cyclin B1 accumulation, and increased CDC2/CDK1 activity. Our results suggest that, in addition to cell death by apoptosis at lower bortezomib concentrations, NK lymphoma cells resistant to bortezomib-induced apoptosis can be killed via mitotic catastrophe, an alternative cell death mechanism, at higher pharmacologic concentrations of bortezomib. Hence, activating mitotic catastrophe by bortezomib may provide a novel therapeutic approach for treating apoptosis-resistant NK-cell malignancies and other cancers.

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