The FA/BRCA pathway is involved in DNA damage repair and its importance in oncogenesis has only recently been implicated. Briefly, 8 FA/BRCA pathway family members facilitate the monoubiquitination of FANCD2. Upon monoubiquitination, FANCD2 translocates to the DNA repair foci where it interacts with other proteins to initiate DNA repair. Previously, we reported that the FA/BRCA pathway is upregulated in multiple myeloma cell lines selected for resistance to melphalan (Chen, et al, Blood 2005). Further, reducing FANCF in the melphalan resistant 8226/LR5 myeloma cell line partially reversed resistance, whereas overexpressing FANCF in the drug sensitive 8226/S myeloma line conferred resistance to melphalan. Others have reported, and we have also verified, that bortezomib enhances melphalan response in myeloma cells; however, the mechanism of enhanced melphalan activity in combination with bortezomib has not been reported. Based on our observation that the FA/BRCA pathway confers melphalan resistance, we hypothesized that bortezomib enhances melphalan response by targeting FA/BRCA DNA damage repair pathway genes. To investigate this hypothesis, we first analyzed FA/BRCA gene expression in 8226/S and 8226/LR5 cells treated with bortezomib, using a customized microfluidic card (to detect BRCA1, BRCA2, FANCA, FANCC, FANCD2, FANCE, FANCF, FANCG, FANCL, RAD51 and RAD51C) and q-PCR. Interestingly, we found that low dose (5nM) bortezomib decreased many FA/BRCA pathway genes as early as 2 hours, with maximal decreases seen at 24 hours. Specifically, 1.5- to 2.5-fold decreases in FANCA, FANCC, FANCD2, FANCE and RAD51C were seen 24 hours post bortezomib exposure. Moreover, pre-treatment of myeloma cells with low dose bortezomib followed by melphalan treatment revealed a greater than 2-fold reduction in FANCD2 gene expression levels. We also found that melphalan treatment alone enhanced FANCD2 protein expression and activation (monoubiquitination), whereas the combination treatment of bortezomib followed by melphalan decreased activation and overall expression of FANCD2 protein. Taken together, these results suggest that bortezomib enhances melphalan response in myeloma by targeting the FA/BRCA pathway. Further understanding of the role of the FA/BRCA pathway in determining melphalan response may allow for more customized and effective treatment of myeloma.

Disclosures: NCI grants CA 77859 and CA 76292(WSD).

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