Proteasome inhibitors

Biochem Pharmacol. 2015 Jul 1;96(1):1-9. doi: 10.1016/j.bcp.2015.04.008. Epub 2015 Apr 29.


Proteasome inhibitors have a 20 year history in cancer therapy. The first proteasome inhibitor, bortezomib (Velcade, PS-341), a break-through multiple myeloma treatment, moved rapidly through development from bench in 1994 to first approval in 2003. Bortezomib is a reversible boronic acid inhibitor of the chymotrypsin-like activity of the proteasome. Next generation proteasome inhibitors include carfilzomib and oprozomib which are irreversible epoxyketone proteasome inhibitors; and ixazomib and delanzomib which are reversible boronic acid proteasome inhibitors. Two proteasome inhibitors, bortezomib and carfilzomib are FDA approved drugs and ixazomib and oprozomib are in late stage clinical trials. All of the agents are potent cytotoxics. The disease focus for all the proteasome inhibitors is multiple myeloma. This focus arose from clinical observations made in bortezomib early clinical trials. Later preclinical studies confirmed that multiple myeloma cells were indeed more sensitive to proteasome inhibitors than other tumor cell types. The discovery and development of the proteasome inhibitor class of anticancer agents has progressed through a classic route of serendipity and scientific investigation. These agents are continuing to have a major impact in their treatment of hematologic malignancies and are beginning to be explored as potential treatment agent for non-cancer indications.

Keywords: Bortezomib; Carfilzomib; Ixazomib citrate; MLN9708; Proteasome.

MeSH terms

  • Antineoplastic Agents / pharmacology*
  • Antineoplastic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Neoplasms / drug therapy
  • Proteasome Inhibitors / pharmacology*
  • Proteasome Inhibitors / therapeutic use


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Proteasome Inhibitors