Purpose: The addition of the proteasome inhibitor (PI) bortezomib to standard chemotherapy (ADE: cytarabine [Ara-C], daunorubicin, and etoposide) did not improve overall outcome of pediatric AML patients in the Children's Oncology Group AAML1031 phase 3 randomized clinical trial (AAML1031). Bortezomib prevents protein degradation, including RelA via the intracellular NF-kB pathway. In this study, we hypothesized that subgroups of pediatric AML patients benefitting from standard therapy plus bortezomib (ADEB) could be identified based on pre-treatment RelA expression and phosphorylation status. Experimental design: RelA-total and phosphorylation at serine 536 (RelA-pSer536) were measured in 483 patient samples using reverse phase protein array technology. Results: In ADEB-treated patients, low-RelA-pSer536 was favorably prognostic when compared to high-RelA-pSer536 (3-yr overall survival (OS): 81% vs. 68%, p = 0.032; relapse risk (RR): 30% vs. 49%, p = 0.004). Among low-RelA-pSer536 patients, RR significantly decreased with ADEB compared to ADE (RR: 30% vs. 44%, p = 0.035). Correlation between RelA-pSer536 and 295 other assayed proteins identified a strong correlation with HSF1-pSer326, another protein previously identified as modifying ADEB response. The combination of low-RelA-pSer536 and low-HSF1-pSer326 was a significant predictor of ADEB response (3-yr OS: 86% vs. 67%, p = 0.013). Conclusion and clinical relevance: Bortezomib may improve clinical outcome in a subgroup of AML patients identified by low-RelA-pSer536 and low-HSF1-pSer326.
- B ortezomib