The type I Melanoma Antigen Gene (MAGE) A3 is a functional target associated with survival and proliferation in multiple myeloma (MM). To investigate the mechanisms of these oncogenic functions, we performed gene expression profiling (GEP) of p53 wildtype human myeloma cell lines (HMCL) after MAGE-A knockdown, which identified a set of 201 differentially expressed genes (DEG) associated with apoptosis, DNA repair, and cell cycle regulation. MAGE knockdown increased protein levels of pro-apoptotic BIM and of the endogenous cyclin-dependent kinase (CDK) inhibitor p21Cip1. Depletion of MAGE-A in HMCL increased sensitivity to the alkylating agent melphalan but not to proteasome inhibition. High MAGEA3 was associated with the MYC and Cell Cycling clusters defined by a network model of GEP data from the CoMMpass database of newly diagnosed, untreated MM patients. Comparative analysis of CoMMpass subjects based on high or low MAGEA3 expression revealed a set of 6748 DEG that also had significant functional associations with cell cycle and DNA replication pathways, similar to that observed in HMCL. High MAGEA3 expression correlated with shorter overall survival after melphalan chemotherapy and autologous stem cell transplantation (ASCT). These results demonstrate that MAGE-A3 regulates Bim and p21Cip1 transcription and protein expression, inhibits apoptosis, and promotes proliferation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)727-739
Number of pages13
Issue number7
StatePublished - 18 Feb 2020


  • Apoptosis
  • Cell cycle regulation
  • DNA repair
  • MAGE-A3
  • Multiple myeloma


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