-Author name in bold denotes the presenting author
-Asterisk * with author name denotes a Non-ASH member
Clinically Relevant Abstract denotes an abstract that is clinically relevant.

PhD Trainee denotes that this is a recommended PHD Trainee Session.

Ticketed Session denotes that this is a ticketed session.

3005 Identification of the Proteasome Subunits PSMB4 and PSMD4 As Novel Targets in Multiple Myeloma Patients Carrying 1q21 Amplification

Program: Oral and Poster Abstracts
Session: 631. Myeloproliferative Syndromes and Chronic Myeloid Leukemia: Basic and Translational: Poster II
Hematology Disease Topics & Pathways:
Research, Translational Research, Plasma Cell Disorders, Diseases, Therapies, Lymphoid Malignancies, Biological Processes
Sunday, December 11, 2022, 6:00 PM-8:00 PM

Jessica Burroughs Garcia1*, Paola Storti, PhD2*, Nicolas Thomas Iannozzi, MS2*, Laura Notarfranchi2*, Denise Toscani, PhD2*, Valentina Marchica, MS2*, Vincenzo Raimondi, MS2*, Luca Agnelli3*, Valentina Franceschi, PhD4*, Giannalisa Todaro, PhD5*, Oxana Lungu, MS2*, Matia Bernardi, MD5*, Matteo Scita, MD5*, Gabriella Sammarelli, PhD5*, Gaetano Donofrio, DVM PhD4*, Anna Benedetta Dalla Palma, MD PhD5* and Nicola Giuliani, MD, PhD2,5

1Hematology and BMT Unit, University of Parma, Parma, Italy
2Department of Medicine and Surgery, University of Parma, Parma, Italy
3Department of Pathology and Department of Molecular Oncology 1, Fondazione IRCCS Istituto Nazionale dei Tumori, Milano, Italy
4Department of Medical-Veterinary Science, University of Parma, Parma, Italy
5Hematology and BMT Unit, Azienda Ospedaliero-Universitaria di Parma, Parma, Italy

Gain and/or amplification of the 1q21 (1q21+) region is one of the most frequent secondary cytogenetic abnormalities present in multiple myeloma (MM) patients. Interestingly, it has been reported that the incidence of the amplification of chromosome 1q (Amp1q) in patients with pre-malignant smoldering myeloma (SMM) is about 40%.

Several data indicate that the presence of Amp1q is associated with a worse clinical outcome and a poor response to therapies including proteasome inhibitors (PIs). Recently, a study showed that newly diagnosed MM (NDMM) carrying Amp1q receiving carfilzomib-based treatment have an early disease progression and shorter overall survival, compared to those with 1q21 gain. The genes driving amplification of the 1q21 region have not been fully elucidated. This study aims to identify novel targets in the 1q21 region possibly correlated to PIs treatment.

We purified CD138+ plasma cells (PCs) by immunomagnetic beads from bone marrow (BM) aspirates. We used a total cohort of 29 MM patients: 11 SMM and 18 NDMM. Fluorescent in situ hybridization analysis was performed on all the patients. 48% (14/29) patients carried 1q21+. A score indicating the number of 1q21 copies was calculated based on the FISH hybridization pattern of each patient. The expression profile of all 29 samples was generated using GeneChip ClariomD Arrays (Affymetrix Inc., Santa Clara, CA, USA). The smar package was used to identify differentially expressed genes between 1q21+ and control samples.

The expression profile of our cohort showed that the expression of both proteasome subunits, PSMB4 and PSMD4 was significantly upregulated in MM patients Amp1q compared to control patients (PSMB4 p=0.0006; PSMD4 p=<0.0001 respectively). Additionally, we found a strong positive correlation between gene expression levels and 1q21 copy number for the proteasome subunits PSMB4 (p=<0.0001, r=0.5631) and PSMD4 (p=<0.0001, r=0.6391). Interestingly, the PSMB4 and PSMD4 expression levels were independent of the disease stage (SMM vs MM) and the expression was driven exclusively by the 1q21 copy number.

We evaluated PSMB4 and PSMD4 mRNA and protein expression levels in a 1q21 wild-type MM cell line (OCI-MY5) and a panel of MM cell lines carrying 1q21+. Our results showed that PSMB4 and PSMD4 expression levels were higher in cell lines with Amp1q, following a 1q21 copy number fashion. Subsequently, we assessed the role of PSMB4 and PSMD4 to the sensibility of PI bortezomib in two myeloma cell lines carrying 1q21+. Our results showed that bortezomib treatment downregulates the protein expression of PSMD4 while PSMB4 was unaffected. Moreover, the MTT viability test correlated with the anti-myeloma effect of bortezomib.

Furthermore, we generated a JJN3 PSMB4 and PSMD4-knockdown MM cell line using short hairpin RNA (shRNA) lentivectors. An empty vector was used as a control plasmid. Cell viability and apoptosis assays were performed using MTT assay and Apo 2.7 staining. Our functional studies showed that shPSMB4 and shPSMD4 decreased MM cell viability when treated with PI. Moreover, both shPSMB4 and shPSMD4 knockdown cells showed elevated levels of polyubiquitylated proteins, indicating blockade of proteasome-mediated protein degradation.

In conclusion, our study identified proteasome subunits PSMB4 and PSMD4 to be significantly upregulated in MM patients carrying 1q21+, correlated with 1q21 copy number but not with disease stage. Therefore, targeting PSMB4 and PSMD4 could be a strategy to treat MM patients with 1q21+.

Disclosures: Giuliani: Celgene: Membership on an entity's Board of Directors or advisory committees, Other: Support for conferences, Research Funding; Janssen Pharmaceuticals: Membership on an entity's Board of Directors or advisory committees, Other: Sponsor of clinical trials, Support for conferences, Research Funding; Millennium Pharmaceuticals: Other: Sponsor of clinical trials; Takeda: Membership on an entity's Board of Directors or advisory committees.

*signifies non-member of ASH