Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department


Major Professor

Patrick Bradshaw, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Richard Pollenz, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Kristina Schmidt, Ph.D.


Tipifarnib, 8226/R5, Velcade, Farnesyl Transferase, Proteasome


The farnesyl transferase inhibitor R115777 (Zarnestra, Tipifarnib) has been found to have clinical activity in diverse hematopoietic tumors. Clinical efficacy, however, does not correlate with Ras mutation status or inhibition of farnesyl transferase. To further elucidate the mechanisms by which R115777 induces apoptosis and to investigate drug resistance, we have identified and characterized a R115777-resistant human myeloma cell line. 8226/R5 cells were found to be at least 50 times more resistant to R115777 compared with the parent cell line 8226/S. 8226/R5 cells were insensitive to a diverse group of antitumor agents including PS-341 (Bortezomib, Velcade). Comparison of gene expression profiles between resistant and sensitive cells revealed expression changes in several genes involved in myeloma survival and drug resistance.

Identification and characterization of the 8226/R5 cell line helped us evaluate and confirm that the Akt tumor survival pathway plays an important role in Tipifarnib induced apoptosis and resistance in myeloma cells. Additionally, 8226/R5 cells helped to evaluate other molecules exhibiting synergistic cell death. In this study, we investigated the activity of R115777 combined with Bortezomib in microenvironment models of multiple myeloma and AML. The combination proved to be synergistic in multiple myeloma and AML cell lines treated in suspension culture. Even in tumor cells relatively resistant to Tipifarnib, combined activity was maintained. Of importance, activation of the endoplasmic reticulum stress response was enhanced and correlated with apoptosis and reversal of CAM-DR. Our study provides the preclinical rationale for trials testing the Tipifarnib and Bortezomib combination in patients with multiple myeloma and AML.