Bone morphogenetic proteins induce apoptosis in multiple myeloma cells by Smad-dependent repression of MYC

Leukemia. 2012 May;26(5):1073-80. doi: 10.1038/leu.2011.263. Epub 2011 Sep 23.


Bone morphogenetic proteins (BMPs) have been shown to induce apoptosis and growth arrest in myeloma cells. However, the molecular mechanisms behind these events are not known. The MYC oncogene is a master regulator of cell growth and protein synthesis and MYC overexpression has been proposed to be associated with the progression of multiple myeloma. Here, we show that BMP-induced apoptosis in myeloma cells is dependent on downregulation of MYC. Moreover, the results suggest that targeting the MYC addiction in multiple myeloma is an efficient way of killing a majority of primary myeloma clones. We also found that myeloma cells harboring immunoglobulin (IG)-MYC translocations evaded BMP-induced apoptosis, suggesting a novel way for myeloma cells to overcome potential tumor suppression by BMPs.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Apoptosis / physiology*
  • Bone Morphogenetic Proteins / physiology*
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Down-Regulation
  • Female
  • Gene Expression Profiling
  • Genes, myc*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Multiple Myeloma / genetics
  • Multiple Myeloma / pathology*
  • Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Smad Proteins / physiology*


  • Bone Morphogenetic Proteins
  • Smad Proteins