CYTOTECHNOLOGY, vol.72, no.1, pp.121-130, 2020 (SCI-Expanded)
The phenomenon of acquired resistance to chemotherapeutic agents is a long-standing conundrum in cancer treatment. To help delineate drug resistance mechanisms and pave the way for the development of novel strategies, we generated a PC3 prostate cancer cell line resistant to proteasome inhibitor bortezomib for the first time. The resistant cells were found to have an IC50 value of 359.6 nM, whereas the IC50 value of parental cells was 82.6 nM after 24 h of treatment with varying doses of bortezomib. The resistant cells were also partly cross-resistant to the novel proteasome inhibitor carfilzomib; however, they were not resistant to widely used chemotherapeutic agent vincristine sulfate, indicating that enhanced cellular drug efflux via the multidrug resistance (MDR) transporters is not the molecular basis of the resistance. Since both bortezomib and carfilzomib target and inhibit the chymotrypsin-related activity residing in the beta 5 subunit of the proteasome (PSMB5), we next examined its expression and found surprisingly no significant alteration in the expression profile of the mature form. However, a significant increase in the accumulation of the precursor form of PSMB5 in response to 100 nM bortezomib was observed in the parental cells without a significant accumulation in the resistant cells. The results presented here thus suggest that the molecular mechanisms causing resistance to proteasome inhibitors need to be examined in-depth to overcome the resistance to ubiquitin-proteasome pathway inhibitors in cancer treatment.