The mevalonate pathway is an actionable vulnerability of t(4;14)-positive multiple myeloma

621 267 Penn Lab
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Leukemia (July 14, 2020);

DOI: 10.1038/s41375-020-0962-2


Longo J, Smirnov P, Li Z, Branchard E, van Leeuwen J, Licht JD, Haibe-Kains B, Andrews DW, Keats JJ, Pugh TJ, Trudel S, Penn LZ.


Multiple myeloma (MM) is a plasma cell malignancy that is often driven by chromosomal translocations. In particular, patients with t(4;14)-positive disease have worse prognosis compared to other MM subtypes. Herein, we demonstrated that t(4;14)-positive cells are highly dependent on the mevalonate (MVA) pathway for survival. Moreover, we showed that this metabolic vulnerability is immediately actionable, as inhibiting the MVA pathway with a statin preferentially induced apoptosis in t(4;14)-positive cells. In response to statin treatment, t(4;14)-positive cells activated the integrated stress response (ISR), which was augmented by co-treatment with bortezomib, a proteasome inhibitor. We identified that t(4;14)-positive cells depend on the MVA pathway for the synthesis of geranylgeranyl pyrophosphate (GGPP), as exogenous GGPP fully rescued statin-induced ISR activation and apoptosis. Inhibiting protein geranylgeranylation similarly induced the ISR in t(4;14)-positive cells, suggesting that this subtype of MM depends on GGPP, at least in part, for protein geranylgeranylation. Notably, fluvastatin treatment synergized with bortezomib to induce apoptosis in t(4;14)-positive cells and potentiated the anti-tumor activity of bortezomib in vivo. Our data implicate the t(4;14) translocation as a biomarker of statin sensitivity and warrant further clinical evaluation of a statin in combination with bortezomib for the treatment of t(4;14)-positive disease.