Recent studies have shown that the transcription factor nuclear factor κB (NF-κB) regulates critical survival pathways in a variety of cancers, including human T-cell leukemia/lymphotrophic virus 1 (HTLV-1)-transformed CD4 T cells. The activation of NF-κB is controlled by proteasome-mediated degradation of the inhibitor of nuclear factor κBα (IκBα). We investigated the effects of PS-341, a peptide boronate inhibitor of the proteasome in HTLV-1 Tax transgenic tumors in vitro and in vivo. In Tax transgenic mice, PS-341 administered thrice weekly inhibited tumor-associated NF-κB activity. Quantitation of proliferation, apoptosis, and interleukin 6 (IL-6) and IL-10 secretion by tumor cells in culture revealed that the effects of PS-341 on cell growth largely correlated with inhibition of pathways mediated by NF-κB. However, the effect of PS-341 on the growth of tumors in Tax transgenic mice revealed heterogeneity in drug responsiveness. The tumor tissues treated with PS-341 show no consistent inhibition of NFκB activation in vivo. Annexin V staining indicated that PS-341 response in vivo correlated with sensitivity to apoptosis induced by γ irradiation. On the other hand, transplanted Tax tumors in Rag-1 mice showed consistent inhibition of tumor growth and prolonged survival in response to the same drug regimen. TUNEL staining indicated that PS-341 treatment sensitizes Tax tumors to DNA fragmentation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)802-809
Number of pages8
Issue number3
StatePublished - Aug 1 2004


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