Background: MYC is a master regulator of multiple myeloma (MM) by orchestrating several pro-tumoral pathways, including reprograming of the miRNA transcriptome. MYC is also involved in the acquirement of resistance to anti-MM drugs, including immunomodulatory imide drugs (IMiDs). Methods: In silico analysis was performed on MM proprietary and on public MMRFCoMMpass datasets. Western blot and chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP) experiments were performed to validate miR-22 repression induced by MYC. Cell viability and apoptosis assays were used to evaluate lenalidomide sensitization after miR-22 overexpression. Results: We found an inverse correlation between MYC and miR-22 expression, which is associated with poor outcome in IMiD-treated MM patients. Mechanistically, we showed that MYC represses transcription of miR-22, which, in turn, targets MYC, thus establishing a feed-forward loop. Interestingly, we found that IMiD lenalidomide increases miR-22 expression by reducing MYC repression and, most importantly, that the combination of lenalidomide with miR-22 mimics results in a synergistic direct and NK-mediated cytotoxic activity. Conclusions: Taken together, our findings indicate that: (1) low miR-22 expression could represent a potential predictive biomarker of poor lenalidomide response in MM patients; and (2) miR-22 reduces MYC oncogenic activity, thus triggering a novel synthetic lethality loop, which sensitizes MM cells to lenalidomide.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research