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Cancer-testis antigens MAGE-C1/CT7 and MAGE-A3 promote the survival of multiple myeloma cells

Cancer-testis antigens MAGE-C1/CT7 and MAGE-A3 promote the survival of multiple myeloma cells

Haematologica 95(5): 785-793

Multiple myeloma is a life-threatening disease and despite the introduction of stem cell transplantation and novel agents such as thalidomide, lenalidomide, and bortezomib most patients will relapse and develop chemoresistant disease. Therefore, alternative therapeutic modes for myeloma are needed and cancer-testis antigens such as MAGE-C1/CT7 and MAGE-A3 have been suggested to represent a class of tumor-specific proteins particularly suited for targeted immunotherapies. Surprisingly, the biological role of cancer-testis genes in myeloma remains poorly understood. We performed the first investigation of the function of two cancer-testis antigens most commonly expressed in myeloma, MAGE-C1/CT7 and MAGE-A3, using an RNA interference-based gene silencing model in myeloma cell lines. Functional assays were used to determine changes in proliferation, cell adhesion, chemosensitivity, colony formation, and apoptosis resulting from gene-specific silencing. We show that the investigated genes are not involved in regulating cell proliferation or adhesion; however, they play an important role in promoting the survival of myeloma cells. Accordingly, knock-down of MAGE-C1/CT7 and MAGE-A3 led to the induction of apoptosis in the malignant plasma cells and, importantly, both genes were also essential for the survival of clonogenic myeloma precursors. Finally, silencing of cancer-testis genes further improved the response of myeloma cells to conventional therapies. Cancer-testis antigens such as MAGE-C1/CT7 and MAGE-A3 play an important role in promoting the survival of myeloma cells and clonogenic precursors by reducing the rate of spontaneous and chemotherapy-induced apoptosis and might, therefore, represent attractive targets for novel myeloma-specific therapies.

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Accession: 051926717

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PMID: 20015885

DOI: 10.3324/haematol.2009.014464

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