International Journal of Hematology

DOI: 10.1007/s12185-016-2169-x Pages: 587-597

Bortezomib interferes with adhesion of B cell precursor acute lymphoblastic leukemia cells through SPARC up-regulation in human bone marrow mesenchymal stromal/stem cells

1. Kyoto University Hospital, Department of Transfusion Medicine and Cell Therapy

2. Shiga University of Medical Science, Department of Medicine

3. Kyoto University, Department of Hematology and Oncology, Graduate School of Medicine

4. National Hospital Organization Himeji Medical Center, Department of Hematology

5. Hiroshima University, Department of Hematology and Oncology, Research Institute for Radiation Biology and Medicine

6. Kobe City Medical Center General Hospital, Department of Hematology

Correspondence to:
Yasuo Miura
Tel: +81-75-751-3630



The poor prognosis of adults with B cell precursor acute lymphoblastic leukemia (BCP-ALL) is attributed to leukemia cells that are protected by the bone marrow (BM) microenvironment. In the present study, we explored the pharmacological targeting of mesenchymal stromal/stem cells in BM (BM-MSCs) to eliminate chemoresistant BCP-ALL cells. Human BCP-ALL cells (NALM-6 cells) that adhered to human BM-MSCs (NALM-6/Ad) were highly resistant to multiple anti-cancer drugs, and exhibited pro-survival characteristics, such as an enhanced Akt/Bcl-2 pathway and increased populations in the G0 and G2/S/M cell cycle stages. Bortezomib, a proteasome inhibitor, interfered with adhesion between BM-MSCs and NALM-6 cells and up-regulated the matricellular protein SPARC (secreted protein acidic and rich in cysteine) in BM-MSCs, thereby reducing the NALM-6/Ad population. Inhibition of SPARC expression in BM-MSCs using a small interfering RNA enhanced adhesion of NALM-6 cells. Conversely, recombinant SPARC protein interfered with adhesion of NALM-6 cells. These results suggest that SPARC disrupts adhesion between BM-MSCs and NALM-6 cells. Co-treatment with bortezomib and doxorubicin prolonged the survival of BCP-ALL xenograft mice, with a significant reduction of leukemia cells in BM. Our findings demonstrate that bortezomib contributes to the elimination of BCP-ALL cells through disruption of their adhesion to BM-MSCs, and offer a novel therapeutic strategy for BCP-ALL through targeting of BM-MSCs.

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