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American Society of Hematology, Blood, 2024

DOI: 10.1182/blood.2023022777



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Loss of GABARAP mediates resistance to immunogenic chemotherapy in multiple myeloma

Distributing this paper is prohibited by the publisher
Distributing this paper is prohibited by the publisher

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Data provided by SHERPA/RoMEO


Immunogenic cell death (ICD) is a form of cell death by which cancer treatments can induce a clinically relevant anti-tumor immune response in a broad range of cancers. In multiple myeloma (MM), the proteasome inhibitor bortezomib is an ICD inducer and creates durable therapeutic responses in patients. However, eventual relapse and resistance to bortezomib appear inevitable. Here, by integrating patient transcriptomic data with an analysis of calreticulin (CRT) protein interactors, we found that GABARAP is a key player whose loss prevented tumor cell death from being perceived as immunogenic after bortezomib treatment. GABARAP is located on chromosome 17p, which is commonly deleted in high-risk MM patients. GABARAP deletion impaired the exposure of the eat-me signal CRT on the surface of dying MM cells in vitro and in vivo, thus reducing tumor cell phagocytosis by dendritic cells and the subsequent anti-tumor T cell response. Low GABARAP was independently associated with shorter MM patient survival and reduced tumor immune infiltration. Mechanistically, we found that GABARAP deletion blocked ICD signaling by decreasing autophagy and altering Golgi apparatus morphology, with consequent defects in the downstream vesicular transport of CRT. Conversely, upregulating autophagy using rapamycin restored Golgi morphology, CRT exposure and ICD signaling in GABARAPKO cells undergoing bortezomib treatment. Therefore, coupling an ICD inducer, like bortezomib, with an autophagy inducer, like rapamycin, may improve patient outcomes in MM, where low GABARAP in the form of del(17p) is common and leads to worse outcomes.