In multiple myeloma, despite recent improvements offered by new therapies, disease relapse and drug resistance still occur in the majority of patients. Therefore, there is an urgent need for new drugs that can overcome drug resistance and prolong patient survival after failure of standard therapies. The imipridone ONC201 causes downstream inactivation of ERK1/2 signaling and has tumoricidal activity against a variety of tumor types, while its efficacy in preclinical models of myeloma remains unclear. In this study, we treated human myeloma cell lines and patient-derived tumor cells with ONC201. Treatment decreased cellular viability and induced apoptosis in myeloma cell lines, with IC50 values of 1 to 1.5 μM, even in those with high risk features or TP53 loss. ONC201 increased levels of the pro-apoptotic protein Bim in myeloma cells, resulting from decreased phosphorylation of degradation-promoting Bim Ser69 by ERK1/2. In addition, myeloma cell lines made resistant to several standard-of-care agents (by chronic exposure) were equally sensitive to ONC201 as their drug-naïve counterparts, and combinations of ONC201 with proteasome inhibitors had synergistic anti-myeloma activity. Overall, these findings demonstrate that ONC201 kills myeloma cells regardless of resistance to standard-of-care therapies, making it promising for clinical testing in relapsed/refractory myeloma.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research