The proteasome inhibitor bortezomib (Velcade) effectively eradicates multiple myeloma (MM) cells, partly by activating endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress apoptotic signaling. However, MM recurrences in bortezomib-treated patients are invariable. We have shown that ER stress signaling can also induce growth arrest and survival in cancer cells. Thus, we hypothesized that bortezomib therapy could induce quiescence and survival of residual MM cells, contributing to disease recurrence. Here, we report that in MM cells, proteasome inhibition with MG-132 or bortezomib results in a surviving cell fraction that enters a prolonged quiescent state (G 0-G 1 arrest). Mechanism analysis revealed that bortezomib-surviving quiescent cells attenuate eIF2α phosphorylation and induction of the ER stress proapoptotic gene GADD153. This occurs independently of the eIF2α upstream kinases PERK, GCN2, and PKR. In contrast, the prosurvival ER-chaperone BiP/Grp78 was persistently induced. The bortezomib-surviving quiescent fraction could be eradicated by a simultaneous or sequential combination therapy with salubrinal, an inhibitor of GADD34-PP1C phosphatase complex, and, in consequence, eIF2α dephosphorylation. This effect was mimicked by expression of a phosphorylated mimetic eIF2α- S51D mutant. Our data indicate that bortezomib can induce growth arrest in therapy-surviving MM cells and that attenuation of eIF2α phosphorylation contributes to this survival. Most importantly, this survival mechanism can be blocked by inhibiting eIF2α dephosphorylation. Thus, strategies that maintain eIF2α in a hyperphosphorylated state may be a novel therapeutic approach to maximize bortezomib-induced apoptosis and reduce residual disease and recurrences in this type of cancer.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research