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Liposarcoma is the most common soft tissue sarcoma with a high risk of relapse. Few therapeutic options are available for the aggressive local or metastatic disease. Here, we report that the clinically used proteasome inhibitor bortezomib exhibits significantly stronger cytotoxicity toward highly malignant human liposarcoma SW872-S cells compared with its parental SW872 cells, which is accompanied by enhanced activation of apoptotic signaling both in vitro and in vivo. Treatment of cells with Jun-N-terminal kinase (JNK) inhibitor SP60015 or the translation inhibitor cycloheximide ameliorated this enhanced apoptosis. Bortezomib inhibited MDR1 expression and function more effectively in SW872-S cells than in SW872 cells, indicating that the increased cytotoxicity relies on the degree of proteasome inhibition. Furthermore, the pharmacological or genetic inhibition of sarco/endoplasmic reticulum calcium-ATPase (SERCA) 2, which is highly expressed in SW872-S cells, resulted in partial reversal of cell growth inhibition and increase of MDR1 expression in bortezomib-treated SW872-S cells. These results show that bortezomib exhibits preferential cytotoxicity toward SW872-S cells possibly via highly expressed SERCA2-associated MDR1 suppression and suggest that bortezomib may serve as a potent agent for treating advanced liposarcoma.We compare the cytotoxicity of different drugs between SW872-S and SW872 cells.Highly malignant liposarcoma cells SW872-S show hypersensitivity to bortezomib.Apoptotic signaling is robustly enhanced in bortezomib-treated SW872-S cells.Bortezomib has strong suppression on MDR1 expression and function in SW872-S cells.Inhibition of SERCA2 protects SW872-S cells from bortezomib.