XPO1 inhibition with selinexor synergizes with proteasome inhibition in neuroblastoma by targeting nuclear export of IkB

Transl Oncol. 2021 Aug;14(8):101114. doi: 10.1016/j.tranon.2021.101114. Epub 2021 May 9.


Across many cancer types in adults, upregulation of the nuclear-to-cytoplasmic transport protein Exportin-1 (XPO1) correlates with poor outcome and responsiveness to selinexor, an FDA-approved XPO1 inhibitor. Similar data are emerging in childhood cancers, for which selinexor is being evaluated in early phase clinical studies. Using proteomic profiling of primary tumor material from patients with high-risk neuroblastoma, as well as gene expression profiling from independent cohorts, we have demonstrated that XPO1 overexpression correlates with poor patient prognosis. Neuroblastoma cell lines are also sensitive to selinexor in the low nanomolar range. Based on these findings and knowledge that bortezomib, a proteasome inhibitor, blocks degradation of XPO1 cargo proteins, we hypothesized that combination treatment with selinexor and bortezomib would synergistically inhibit neuroblastoma cellular proliferation. We observed that selinexor promoted nuclear retention of IkB and that bortezomib augmented the ability of selinexor to induce cell-cycle arrest and cell death by apoptosis. This synergy was abrogated through siRNA knockdown of IkB. The synergistic effect of combining selinexor and bortezomib in vitro provides rationale for further investigation of this combination treatment for patients with high-risk neuroblastoma.

Keywords: Bortezomib; Exportin-1; IkB; NF-kB; Neuroblastoma; Selinexor.