The expression of the endoplasmic reticulum stress sensor BiP/GRP78 predicts response to chemotherapy and determines the efficacy of proteasome inhibitors in diffuse large b-cell lymphoma

Am J Pathol. 2011 Nov;179(5):2601-10. doi: 10.1016/j.ajpath.2011.07.031. Epub 2011 Sep 9.


Activation of the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress pathway is associated with poor response to doxorubicin-containing regimens, such as rituximab, cyclophosphamide, hydroxydaunorubicin (doxorubicin), vincristine and prednisone (R-CHOP), in patients with diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL). Bortezomib, a proteasome inhibitor, interferes with ER responses and improves survival in patients with aggressive hematologic malignant tumors, although its use in DLBCL patients remains controversial. The 78-kDa glucose-regulated protein (GRP78), also known as immunoglobulin heavy chain binding protein (BiP), is an ER stress sensor involved in the resistance to doxorubicin and bortezomib, but its role in the response to chemotherapy in DLBCL has not been explored before. We show that high BiP/GRP78 expression is related to worse overall survival (median overall survival, 5.2 versus 3.4 years). Moreover, cell death after R-CHOP in DLCBL cell lines is associated with decreased BiP/GRP78 expression. Conversely, DLBCL cell lines are primarily resistant to bortezomib, probably owing to BiP/GRP78 overexpression. Small-interfering RNA silencing of BiP/GRP78 renders all cell lines sensitive to bortezomib. R-CHOP with bortezomib (R-CHOP-BZ) reduces BiP/GRP78 expression and overcomes bortezomib resistance, mimicking the small-interfering RNA silencing of BiP/GRP78. Accordingly, R-CHOP-BZ is the most effective treatment, providing a rationale for the use of this combinational therapy to improve DLBCL patient survival. Moreover, this study provides preclinical evidence that the germinal center B-cell-like subtype DLBCL is sensitive to bortezomib combined with immunochemotherapy.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols / administration & dosage
  • Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols / therapeutic use*
  • Boronic Acids / administration & dosage
  • Bortezomib
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Cyclophosphamide / administration & dosage
  • Down-Regulation
  • Doxorubicin / administration & dosage
  • Drug Resistance, Neoplasm
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lymphoma, Large B-Cell, Diffuse / drug therapy*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prednisone / administration & dosage
  • Protease Inhibitors / therapeutic use*
  • Pyrazines / administration & dosage
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism
  • RNA, Small Interfering / physiology
  • Receptors, Neuropeptide / metabolism*
  • Survival Analysis
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Unfolded Protein Response / drug effects
  • Vincristine / administration & dosage
  • Young Adult


  • Boronic Acids
  • GRP8 protein, human
  • Protease Inhibitors
  • Pyrazines
  • RNA, Messenger
  • RNA, Small Interfering
  • Receptors, Neuropeptide
  • Vincristine
  • Bortezomib
  • Doxorubicin
  • Cyclophosphamide
  • Prednisone

Supplementary concepts

  • CHOP protocol