Combined targeting of MEK and the glucocorticoid receptor for the treatment of RAS-mutant multiple myeloma.
De Haven Brandon, A
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Background Multiple myeloma (MM) remains incurable despite recent therapeutic advances. RAS mutations are frequently associated with relapsed/refractory disease. Efforts to target the mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) pathway with the MEK inhibitor, trametinib (Tra) have been limited by toxicities and the development of resistance. Dexamethasone (Dex) is a corticosteroid commonly used in clinical practice, to enhance efficacy of anti-myeloma therapy. Therefore, we hypothesised that the combination of Tra and Dex would yield synergistic activity in RAS-mutant MM. Methods The response of human MM cell lines to drug treatment was analysed using cell proliferation assays, Western blotting, Annexin V and propidium iodide staining by flow cytometry and reverse phase protein arrays. The efficacy of trametinib and dexamethasone treatment in the MM.1S xenograft model was assessed by measuring tumor volume over time. Results The Tra/Dex combination demonstrated synergistic cytotoxicity in KRAS G12A mutant lines MM.1S and RPMI-8226. The induction of apoptosis was associated with decreased MCL-1 expression and increased BIM expression. Reverse phase proteomic arrays revealed suppression of FAK, PYK2, FLT3, NDRG1 and 4EBP1 phosphorylation with the Tra/Dex combination. Notably, NDRG1 expression was associated with the synergistic response to Tra/Dex. MM cells were sensitive to PDK1 inhibition and IGF1-induced signalling partially protected from Tra/Dex treatment, highlighting the importance of this pathway. In the MM.1S tumor xenograft model, only the combination of Tra/Dex resulted in a significant inhibition of tumor growth. Conclusions Overall Tra/Dex demonstrates antiproliferative activity in RAS-mutant MM cell lines associated with suppression of pro-survival PDK1 signalling and engagement of apoptotic pathways. Our data support further investigation of this combination in RAS-mutant MM.
Cell Line, Tumor
MAP Kinase Kinase Kinases
Intracellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins
Cell Cycle Proteins
Drug Therapy, Combination
Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic
Pyruvate Dehydrogenase Acetyl-Transferring Kinase
Cancer Pharmacology & Stress Response (CPSR)
Molecular Drug Resistance
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BMC cancer, 2020, 20 (1), pp. 269 - ?