Synergistic Myeloma Cell Death via Novel Intracellular Activation of Caspase-10-Dependent Apoptosis by Carfilzomib and Selinexor

Mol Cancer Ther. 2016 Jan;15(1):60-71. doi: 10.1158/1535-7163.MCT-15-0488. Epub 2015 Dec 4.


Exportin1 (XPO1; also known as chromosome maintenance region 1, or CRM1) controls nucleo-cytoplasmic transport of most tumor suppressors and is overexpressed in many cancers, including multiple myeloma, functionally impairing tumor suppressive function via target mislocalization. Selective inhibitor of nuclear export (SINE) compounds block XPO1-mediated nuclear escape by disrupting cargo protein binding, leading to retention of tumor suppressors, induction of cancer cell death, and sensitization to other drugs. Combined treatment with the clinical stage SINE compound selinexor and the irreversible proteasome inhibitor (PI) carfilzomib induced synergistic cell death of myeloma cell lines and primary plasma cells derived from relapsing/refractory myeloma patients and completely impaired the growth of myeloma cell line-derived tumors in mice. Investigating the details of SINE/PI-induced cell death revealed (i) reduced Bcl-2 expression and cleavage and inactivation of Akt, two prosurvival regulators of apoptosis and autophagy; (ii) intracellular membrane-associated aggregation of active caspases, which depended on caspase-10 protease activity; and (iii) novel association of caspase-10 and autophagy-associated proteins p62 and LC3 II, which may prime activation of the caspase cascade. Overall, our findings provide novel mechanistic rationale behind the potent cell death induced by combining selinexor with carfilzomib and support their use in the treatment of relapsed/refractory myeloma and potentially other cancers.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antineoplastic Agents / pharmacology
  • Apoptosis / drug effects*
  • Autophagy / drug effects
  • Caspase 10 / metabolism*
  • Caspase 8 / metabolism
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Drug Synergism
  • Enzyme Activation / drug effects
  • Humans
  • Hydrazines / pharmacology*
  • Intracellular Space
  • Mice
  • Multiple Myeloma / metabolism*
  • Oligopeptides / pharmacology*
  • Proteasome Inhibitors / pharmacology
  • Triazoles / pharmacology*
  • Xenograft Model Antitumor Assays


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Hydrazines
  • Oligopeptides
  • Proteasome Inhibitors
  • Triazoles
  • selinexor
  • carfilzomib
  • Caspase 10
  • Caspase 8