Lipid raft-targeted therapy in multiple myeloma

Oncogene. 2010 Jul 1;29(26):3748-57. doi: 10.1038/onc.2010.131. Epub 2010 Apr 26.


Despite recent advances in treatment, multiple myeloma (MM) remains an incurable malignancy. By using in vitro, ex vivo and in vivo approaches, we have identified here that lipid rafts constitute a new target in MM. We have found that the phospholipid ether edelfosine targets and accumulates in MM cell membrane rafts, inducing apoptosis through co-clustering of rafts and death receptors. Raft disruption by cholesterol depletion inhibited drug uptake by tumor cells as well as cell killing. Cholesterol replenishment restored MM cell ability to take up edelfosine and to undergo drug-induced apoptosis. Ceramide addition displaced cholesterol from rafts, and inhibited edelfosine-induced apoptosis. In an MM animal model, edelfosine oral administration showed a potent in vivo antimyeloma activity, and the drug accumulated preferentially and dramatically in the tumor. A decrease in tumor cell cholesterol, a major raft component, inhibited the in vivo antimyeloma action of edelfosine and reduced drug uptake by the tumor. The results reported here provide the proof-of-principle and rationale for further clinical evaluation of edelfosine and for this raft-targeted therapy to improve patient outcome in MM. Our data reveal cholesterol-containing lipid rafts as a novel and efficient therapeutic target in MM, opening a new avenue in cancer treatment.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antineoplastic Agents / pharmacology
  • Apoptosis
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Humans
  • Membrane Microdomains / metabolism*
  • Multiple Myeloma / metabolism
  • Multiple Myeloma / pathology
  • Multiple Myeloma / therapy*
  • Phospholipid Ethers / pharmacology


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Phospholipid Ethers
  • edelfosine