The objective of this study was to analyze protein changes that occur a the molecular level with novel therapeutic agents used in MM in order to identify potential combinations for clinical trials. We employed antibody protein microarrays (BD Clonetech, CA) to measure changes in the patterns of protein expression in Kas 6/1 MM cell line after treatment with bortezomib, dexamethasone, CC-5013, and 17-AAG. The antibody array is a new technique that assays protein differences directly by hybridizing fluorescently labeled protein mixtures from cell extracts onto glass slides spotted with 512 different monoclonal antibodies specific for human proteins. Induction of apoptosis was assessed by Annexin/Propidium iodide FACS analysis at 24 and 48 hours using different concentrations of the inhibitors. Protein arrays were performed at concentrations and treatment times that did not induce more than 25% apoptosis to ensure adequate analysis of early changes in signaling pathways. Bortezomib 5nM at 10 hours, dexamethasone 100mM, CC-5013 250nM, and 17-AAG 1mM at 24 hours were used. Control cells were treated with vehicles ETOH or DMSO at the same concentrations as the inhibitors. To assess differential protein expression, the mean of the Cy5/Cy3 ratios for each sample and its control were analyzed using the Clontech software and an internally normalized ratio (INR) was calculated. INR values >1.3 or <0.77 were considered as valid changes in protein abundance for this study. All inhibitors induced the upregulation of apoptosis proteins including BAK, BIK, SMAC/DIABLO, and caspase 14. Several proteins were inhibited by all 4 inhibitors indicating common pathways affected by these agents. These included members of the PI3K pathway (PI3K-p85a, p70S6kinase, and cyclin dependent kinases), MAPKinases (ERK1 and 2), antiapoptotic protein Bclx, heat shock proteins Hsp70 and HSP60, and ubiqutin/NFkB pathway (Ubch6, IKKalpha, and IKBe). These results indicate that inhibitors of the PI3K pathway such as mTOR inhibitors, IKK inhibitors or MAPkinase inhibitors may be used in the future in combination with bortezomib, dexamethasone, CC-5013 or 17-AAG. Fatty acid synthetase was downregulated by bortezomib and dexamethasone indicating potential use of fatty acid synthase inhibitors in combination with bortezomib or dexamethasone in future clinical trials. These results suggest that antibody protein arrays may be used in the rational design of combinations of targeted therapies in MM.

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