British journal of cancer

Potentiation of apoptosis by histone deacetylase inhibitors and doxorubicin combination: cytoplasmic cathepsin B as a mediator of apoptosis in multiple myeloma.

PMID 21364585


Although inhibitors of histone deacetylase inhibitors (HDACis) in combination with genotoxins potentiate apoptosis, the role of proteases other than caspases in this process remained elusive. Therefore, we examined the potentiation of apoptosis and related mechanisms of HDACis and doxorubicin combination in a panel of myeloma cell lines and in 25 primary myelomas. At IC(50) concentrations, sodium butyrate (an HDACi) or doxorubicin alone caused little apoptosis. However, their combination potentiated apoptosis and synergistically reduced the viability of myeloma cells independent of p53 and caspase 3-7 activation. Potentiated apoptosis correlated with nuclear translocation of apoptosis-inducing factor, suggesting the induction of caspase 3- and 7-independent pathways. Consistent with this, butyrate and doxorubicin combination significantly increased the activity of cytoplasmic cathepsin B. Inhibition of cathepsin B either with a small-molecule inhibitor or downregulation with a siRNA reversed butyrate- and doxorubicin-potentiated apoptosis. Finally, ex vivo, clinically relevant concentrations of butyrate or SAHA (suberoylanilide hydroxamic acid, vorinostat, an HDACi in clinical testing) in combination with doxorubicin significantly (P<0.0001) reduced the survival of primary myeloma cells. Cathepsin B has a prominent function in mediating apoptosis potentiated by HDACi and doxorubicin combinations in myeloma. Our results support a molecular model of lysosomal-mitochondrial crosstalk in HDACi- and doxorubicin-potentiated apoptosis through the activation of cathepsin B.