Bcl family members Bcl-2, Bcl-xL, and Mcl-1, are frequently expressed and implicated in the survival of myeloma cells. Obatoclax (GX015-070) is a novel, small-molecule antagonist of the BH3-binding groove of the Bcl family of proteins. We show that GX015-070 inhibits the binding of Bak to Mcl-1, up-regulates Bim, induces cytochrome c release, and activates capase-3 in human myeloma cell lines (HMCLs), confirming the predicted mechanism of action. Consequently, GX015-070 potently inhibited the viability of 15 of 16 HMCLs (mean IC50 of 246 nM), including those resistant to melphalan and dexamethasone. In combination studies, GX015-070 enhanced the antimyeloma activity induced by melphalan, dexamethasone, or bortezomib. Sensitivity to GX015-070 correlated with the absence or near absence of Bcl-xL. Coculture with interleukin-6 or adherence to bone marrow stroma conferred modest resistance; however, it did not overcome GX015-070-induced cytotoxicity. Of importance, GX015-070 as a single agent induced potent cytotoxic responses against patient-derived tumor cells. GX015-070 inhibited normal bone marrow-derived colony formation; however, cytotoxicity to human blood lymphocytes was not observed. Taken together, these studies describe a novel BH3 mimic with selectivity for Mcl-1, and support the therapeutic application of GX015-070 for diverse neoplasias including multiple myeloma.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cell Biology