Introduction: Acquired proteasome-inhibitor (PI) resistance is a major obstacle in the treatment of multiple myeloma (MM). We investigated whether the clinical XPO1-inhibitor selinexor, when combined with bortezomib or carfilzomib, could overcome acquired-resistance in MM.

Materials and Methods: PI-resistant myeloma cell lines, RPMI8226-B25 and U226 PSR, and their respective parental cell lines RPMI8226 and U266, were treated both in vitro with selinexor/bortezomib or selinexor/carfilzomib and assayed for apoptosis. In vivo studies using U266 and U266PSR tumors were performed in NOD/SCID-gamma (NSG) mice. Mice were treated with selinexor/bortezomib and single agents. Bone marrow biopsies from refractory myeloma patients were treated ex vivo with selinexor/bortezomib or selinexor/carfilzomib and assayed for apoptosis. Mechanistic studies included NFkB pathway protein expression assays, immunofluorescence microscopy, ImageStream flow-cytometry and proximity-ligation assay. IkBα knockdown and NFkB transcriptional activity were measured in selinexor/bortezomib treated MM cells.

Results: We found that selinexor restored sensitivity of PI-resistant RPMI8226-B25 and U266PSR MM cells to bortezomib (P = 0.00055) and carfilzomib (P = 0.0017). Bortezomib, when combined with selinexor reduced U266 MM tumor growth versus single-agent bortezomib (P = 0.022) in NSG mice. NSG mice challenged with PI-resistant U266PSR MM tumors also had reduced tumor growth with selinexor/bortezomib as compared to single agent bortezomib (P = 0.0006). Combining bortezomib and selinexor improved survival in mice with U266 MM tumors (P = 0.0072) and PI-resistant U266PSR when compared to single-agent bortezomib (P = 0.0072). Myeloma cells from PI-refractory MM patients (n=14) were sensitized by selinexor to bortezomib (P = 0.002) and carfilzomib (P = 0.001) without affecting non-myeloma cells. Immunofluorescence microscopy of PI-resistant human MM cell lines found a greater than 212% increase in IkBα when compared to untreated cells (confirmed by Western blot). A similar increase in IkBα immunofluorescence was found in newly diagnosed, relapsed and refractory patient MM cells. ImageStream analyses of MM cells showed an increase in total and nuclear IkBα from selinexor/bortezomib exposure. Proximity-ligation assays showed that IkBα-NFkB-complexes were increased 12-fold in bortezomib/selinexor treated MM cells. IkBα knockdown abrogated selinexor/bortezomib induced cytotoxicity in MM cells. Selinexor/bortezomib treatment decreased NFkB transcriptional activity in addition to a reduction of NFkB induced IAP-1, IAP-2, BCL-2, cyclin D2 and c-myc protein expression..

Conclusions: Selinexor, when used with bortezomib or carfilzomib has the potential to overcome proteasome-inhibitor drug-resistance in MM. Sensitization may be due to inactivation of the NFkB pathway by IkBα. Selinexor, an orally active selective inhibitor of XPO1-mediated nuclear export (SINE), is currently undergoing phase I/II studies in a variety of indications, including a combination with carfilzomib, in both relapsed and refractory MM patients (NCT02199665). The results presented in this study support combinatorial clinical trials in relapsed and refractory MM that utilize PI therapies.


Kashyap:Karyopharm Therapeutics: Employment, Equity Ownership. Shain:Takeda/Millennium: Membership on an entity's Board of Directors or advisory committees, Speakers Bureau; Celgene: Membership on an entity's Board of Directors or advisory committees, Research Funding, Speakers Bureau; Signal Genetics: Research Funding; Novartis: Speakers Bureau; Amgen/Onyx: Membership on an entity's Board of Directors or advisory committees, Speakers Bureau. Landesman:Karyopharm Therapeutics Inc: Employment, Other: stockholder.

Author notes


Asterisk with author names denotes non-ASH members.

Sign in via your Institution