Alteration in expression and function of transcription factors has been frequently associated with neoplastic transformation. We here provide both experimental and clinical evidence that Sp1, a transcription factor that controls number of cellular processes, plays an important regulatory role in MM cell growth and survival. Although Sp1 is ubiquitously expressed, its nuclear localization observed in MM is functionally both relevant and important. We have confirmed high Sp1 activity in MM cells both by demonstrating increased DNA binding as well as increased Sp1-responsive promoter activity measured by luciferase reporter assay. MM cell-BMSC interaction led to Sp1 activation which was completely abrogated by the ERK pathway inhibitor U0126 but not by the AKT inhibitor LY29004. Furthermore, using both SiRNA and ShRNA mediated Sp1 knock-down, we have confirmed the growth and survival effects of Sp1 on MM cell growth. Using gene expression profile of MM cells from 172 uniformly treated patients, we have further confirmed these in vitro results by observing that overexpression of Sp1-related genes, including HIF-1a, HDAC1 and MAPK genes, correlate with poor prognosis in MM. This clinical correlation further suggests the role of Sp1 in MM biology, providing the rationale to preclinically target Sp1 in MM. We have investigated TMP, a derivative of the plant lignan nordihydroguaiaretic acid (NDGA) which disrupts the interaction between Sp1 and GC-rich motifs inhibiting Sp1 activity. We have previously confirmed specific inhibition of both Sp1 binding and transcriptional activity in MM cells by TMP, including in the context of MM-BMSC interaction. Along with inhibition of Sp1 activity, we observed both in vitro and in vivo in murine models of human myeloma, anti-myeloma effect of TMP. Importantly, there was no significant synergistic effect when MM cells transfected with Sp1 siRNA were treated with TMP, confirming specificity of TMP's mechanism of action. We have further observed activation of the mitochondrial apoptotic pathway by TMP via activation of caspase-3, -9 and -7 and PARP cleavage while caspase-8 was not activated suggesting possible synergism with activators of alternate apoptotic pathways. We have also observed that lenalidomide and dexamethasone upregulate Sp1 activity, suggesting that Sp1 may be a common resistance mechanism. We have confirmed that the increased Sp1 activity by lenalidomide or dexamethasone is abrogated by TMP and the combination provides synergistic cytotoxicity, in MM cell lines as well as primary MM cells. In conclusion, we report significant role of Sp1 in myeloma cell growth, survival and drug resistance with its influence on clinical outcome in MM. Our results suggest that specific inhibition of Sp1 activity may be an important therapeutic target in MM.
Avet-Loiseau:Celgene: Membership on an entity's Board of Directors or advisory committees; Janssen-Cilag: Membership on an entity's Board of Directors or advisory committees. Anderson:Millennium Pharmaceuticals: Honoraria, Membership on an entity's Board of Directors or advisory committees, Research Funding, Speakers Bureau. Munshi:Millennium Pharmaceuticals: Honoraria, Speakers Bureau.
Asterisk with author names denotes non-ASH members.