GCS-100 is a galectin-3 antagonist with an acceptable human safety profile that has been demonstrated to have an antimyeloma effect in the context of bortezomib resistance. In the present study, the mechanisms of action of GCS-100 are elucidated in myeloma cell lines and primary tumor cells. GCS-100 induced inhibition of proliferation, accumulation of cells in sub-G(1) and G(1) phases, and apoptosis with activation of both caspase-8 and -9 pathways. Dose- and time-dependent decreases in MCL-1 and BCL-X(L) levels also occurred, accompanied by a rapid induction of NOXA protein, whereas BCL-2, BAX, BAK, BIM, BAD, BID, and PUMA remained unchanged. The cell-cycle inhibitor p21(Cip1) was up-regulated by GCS-100, whereas the procycling proteins CYCLIN E2, CYCLIN D2, and CDK6 were all reduced. Reduction in signal transduction was associated with lower levels of activated IkappaBalpha, IkappaB kinase, and AKT as well as lack of IkappaBalpha and AKT activation after appropriate cytokine stimulation (insulin-like growth factor-1, tumor necrosis factor-alpha). Primary myeloma cells showed a direct reduction in proliferation and viability. These data demonstrate that the novel therapeutic molecule, GCS-100, is a potent modifier of myeloma cell biology targeting apoptosis, cell cycle, and intracellular signaling and has potential for myeloma therapy.
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