Targeted immunotherapy using anti-CD138-interferon α fusion proteins and bortezomib results in synergistic protection against multiple myeloma.

PMID 27362935


Although recent advances have substantially improved the management of multiple myeloma, it remains an incurable malignancy. We now demonstrate that anti-CD138 molecules genetically fused to type I interferons (IFN) synergize with the approved therapeutic bortezomib in arresting the proliferation of human multiple myeloma cell lines both in vitro and in vivo. The anti-CD138-IFNα14 fusion protein was active in inducing increased expression of signal transducer and activator of transcription 1 (STAT1) and its phosphorylation while the cell death pathway induced by bortezomib included generation of reactive oxygen species. Interferon regulatory factor 4 (IRF4), an important survival factor for myeloma cells, was down regulated following combination treatment. Induction of cell death appeared to be caspase-independent because treatment with inhibitors of caspase activation did not decrease the level of cell death. The observed caspase-independent synergistic cell death involved mitochondrial membrane depolarization, and poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase-1 (PARP-1) cleavage, and resulted in enhanced induction of apoptosis. Importantly, using 2 different in vivo xenograft models, we found that combination therapy of anti-CD138-IFNα14 and bortezomib was able to cure animals with established tumors (7 of 8 using OCI-My5 or 8 of 8 using NCI-H929). Thus, the combination of anti-CD138-IFNα with bortezomib shows great promise as a novel therapeutic approach for the treatment of multiple myeloma, a malignancy for which there are currently no cures.