A critical role of autocrine sonic hedgehog signaling in human CD138+myeloma cell survival and drug resistance

Zhiqiang Liu, Jingda Xu, Jin He, Yuhuan Zheng, Haiyan Li, Yong Lu, Jianfei Qian, Pei Lin, Donna M. Weber, Jing Yang, Qing Yi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

56 Scopus citations


Hedgehog (Hh) signaling plays an important role in the oncogenesis of B-cell malignancies suchas multiple myeloma (MM). However, the source of Hh ligand sonic hedgehog (SHH) and its target cells remains controversial. Previous studies showed that stromally inducedh signaling isessential for the tumor cell sandthat CD19+CD138-MM stem cells are the target cells of Hh signaling. Here we demonstrate that SHH was mainly secreted by human myeloma cells but not by stromal cells in MM bone marrow. Autocrine SHH enhanced CD138+myeloma cell proliferation and protected myeloma cells from spontaneous and stress-induced apoptosis. More importantly, autocrine SHH protected myeloma cells against chemotherapy-induced apoptosis in vitro and in vivo. Combinational treatment with chemotherapy and SHH-neutralizing antibody displayed synergistic antimyeloma effects. Mechanistic studies showed that SHH signaling activated the SHH/GLI1/BCL-2 axis, leading to the inhibition of myeloma cell apoptosis. Thus, this study identifies the myeloma autocrine Hh signaling pathway as a potential target for the treatment of MM. Targeting this pathway may improve the efficacy of chemotherapyin MM patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2061-2071
Number of pages11
Issue number13
StatePublished - Sep 25 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Immunology
  • Hematology
  • Cell Biology

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