Multiple Myeloma (Mm) is a clonal B-cell neoplasm that affects terminally differentiated B cells (ie, plasma cells) and may proceed through different phases: an inactive phase in which tumor cells are nonproliferating mature plasma cells, an active phase with a small percentage (<1%) of proliferating plasmablastic cells, and a fulminant phase with the frequent occurrence of extramedullary proliferation and an increase in plasmablastic cells. During the past years, considerable progress has been made in identifying some of the critical components of neoplastic transformation in MM. This review intends to propose a model of a stepwise malignant transformation during MM pathogenesis. Both diagnostic and therapeutic implications of this model will be discussed.
Several studies have reported a positive relation of baseline body mass index (BMI) with multiple myeloma, but data on other correlates of energy balance are limited. We undertook the present analyses to further examine the role of energy balance in multiple myeloma etiology in two large prospective cohorts with biennially updated exposure data. We followed members of the Nurses’ Health Study and Health Professionals Follow-up Study cohorts from baseline until multiple myeloma diagnosis, death, or 2002. Adult height and current weight were reported at enrollment, and weight every 2 years thereafter. Physical activity was queried at baseline and updated every 2-4 years. We computed age-adjusted relative risks (RR) of multiple myeloma for categories of BMI and physical activity using Cox proportional hazards regression. We conducted analyses on each cohort separately and on both cohorts combined. We confirmed 215 incident cases of multiple myeloma in the combined cohort of 136,623 individuals (>2.1 million person-years at risk). BMI was positively associated with multiple myeloma in all analyses. The association was strongest in men with BMI ≥30 kg/m2 (v. BMI <22.0 kg/m2; RR=2.4, 95% confidence interval (CI)=1.0-6.0) and modest in overweight (BMI 25-29.9 kg/m2) and obese (BMI ≥30 kg/m2) women (v. BMI <22.0 kg/m2; RR (95% CI)=1.6 (1.0-2.7) and 1.2 (0.7-2.2), respectively). Physical activity was not significantly related to multiple myeloma risk, although an inverse association was suggested in women. In conclusion, obesity appears to have an etiologic role in multiple myeloma, but the role of other correlates of energy balance remains uncertain.
multiple myeloma; risk factors; body mass index; physical activity; epidemiology
The efficacy of peptide vaccines may be enhanced by stimulating immune cells with multiple peptides derived from distinct tumor-associated antigens. We have evaluated the heteroclitic XBP1 US184–192 (YISPWILAV), heteroclitic XBP1 SP367–375 (YLFPQLISV), native CD138260–268 (GLVGLIFAV), and native CS1239–247 (SLFVLGLFL) peptides, which have strong HLA-A2 affinity and immunogenicity in combination, for their ability to elicit multiple myeloma antigen-specific responses.
Multipeptide-specific cytotoxic T lymphocytes (MP-CTL) were generated by the stimulation of CD3+ T lymphocytes from HLA-A2+ individuals with either autologous mature dendritic cells or T2 cells pulsed with a cocktail of these four peptides.
The peptide cocktail did not compromise tumor antigen-specific activity of CTL. MP-CTL displayed increased total, effector memory (CCR7−CD45RO+), and activated (CD69+) CD3+CD8+ T lymphocytes. In addition, MP-CTL demonstrated IFN-γ production, cell proliferation, and cytotoxicity against HLA-A2+ multiple myeloma cells, including HLA-A2+ MM patients’ cells. Importantly, MP-CTL showed specific responses in functional assays to each relevant peptide, but not to an irrelevant HLA-A2 specific CMV pp65 (NLVPMVATV) peptide.
These results highlight the potential therapeutic application of vaccination with a cocktail of HLA-A2 specific peptides to induce CTL with a broad spectrum of immune responses against multiple myeloma antigens.
Multiple myeloma; Multipeptide Vaccine; Cancer Immunotherapy
The 90-kDa heat shock protein (Hsp90) has become an important therapeutic target with ongoing evaluation in a number of malignancies. Although Hsp90 inhibitors have a high therapeutic index with limited effects on normal cells, they have been described to inhibit dendritic cell function. However, its effect on human immune effector cells may have significant clinical implications, but remains unexplored. In this study, we have evaluated the effects of Hsp90 inhibition on human T lymphocyte and NK cells, including their Ag expression, activation, proliferation, and functional activities. These studies demonstrate that Hsp90 inhibition irreversibly downregulates cell surface expression of critical Ags (CD3, CD4, CD8), the costimulatory molecule (CD28, CD40L), and αβ receptors on T lymphocytes, as well as activating receptors (CD2, CD11a, CD94, NKp30, NKp44, NKp46, KARp50.3) on NK cells. Hsp90 inhibition significantly reduced CD4 protein expression on T lymphocytes at both the cell surface and intracellular level, which was shown to be associated with aberrant regulation of Src-kinase p56Lck. Downregulation of the Ags triggered by Hsp90 inhibition on CD3+ T lymphocytes, both in CD4+ and CD8+ T cell subsets, was associated with a disruption in their cellular activation, proliferation, and/or IFN-γ production, when the inhibition occurred either in activated or inactivated cells. In addition, downregulation of key activating receptors on NK cells following Hsp90 inhibition resulted in decreased cytotoxicity against tumor cells. Therefore, these observations demonstrate the need to closely monitor immune function in patients being treated with a Hsp90 inhibitor and may provide a potential therapeutic application in autoimmune diseases.
The CS1 antigen provides a unique target for the development of an immunotherapeutic strategy to treat patients with multiple myeloma (MM). This study aimed to identify HLA-A2+ immunogenic peptides from the CS1 antigen, which induce peptide-specific cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTL) against HLA-A2+ MM cells. We identified a novel immunogenic HLA-A2-specific CS1239–247 (SLFVLGLFL) peptide, which induced CS1-specific CTL (CS1-CTL) to MM cells. The CS1-CTL showed a distinct phenotype, with an increased percentage of effector memory and activated CTL and a decreased percentage of naive CTL. CS1239–247 peptide-specific CD8+ T cells were detected by DimerX analyses and demonstrated functional activities specific to the peptide. The CTL displayed HLA-A2-restricted and antigen-specific cytotoxicity, proliferation, degranulation and γ-interferon (IFN-γ)production against both primary MM cells and MM cell lines. In addition, the effector memory cells subset (CD45RO−CCR7−/CD3+CD8+) within CS1-CTL showed a higher level of CD107a degranulation and IFN-γproduction as compared to effector cells (CD45RO−CCR7−/CD3+CD8+) against HLA-A2+ primary MM cells or MM cell lines. In conclusion, this study introduced a novel immunogenic HLA-A2-specific CS1239–247 peptide capable of inducing antigen-specific CTL against MM cells that will provide a framework for its application as a novel MM immunotherapy.
Multiple myeloma; CS1; Epitope; Peptide Vaccine
The development of an immunotherapeutic strategy targeting CD138 antigen could potentially represent a new treatment option for multiple myeloma (MM). This study evaluated the immune function of CD138 peptide-specific cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTL), generated ex vivo using an HLA-A2-specific CD138 epitope against MM cells. A novel immunogenic HLA-A2-specific CD138260-268 (GLVGLIFAV) peptide was identified from the full-length protein sequence of the CD138 antigen, which induced CTL specific to primary CD138+ MM cells. The peptide-induced CD138-CTL contained a high percentage of CD8+ activated/memory T cells with a low percentage of CD4+ T cell and naive CD8+ T cell subsets. The CTL displayed HLA-A2-restricted and CD138 antigen-specific cytotoxicity against MM cell lines. In addition, CD138-CTL demonstrated increased degranulation, proliferation and γ–interferon secretion to HLA-A2+/CD138+ myeloma cells, but not HLA-A2−/CD138+ or HLA-A2+/CD138− cells. The immune functional properties of the CD138-CTL were also demonstrated using primary HLA-A2+/CD138+ cells isolated from myeloma patients. In conclusion, a novel immunogenic CD138260-268 (GLVGLIFAV) peptide can induce antigen-specific CTL, which might be useful for the treatment of MM patients with peptide-based vaccine or cellular immunotherapy strategies.
CD138 peptide; multiple myeloma; peptide vaccine; cytotoxic T lymphocytes
The NEDD8 activating enzyme (NAE) is upstream of the 20S proteasome in the ubiquitin/proteasome pathway and catalyzes the first step in the neddylation pathway. NEDD8 modification of cullins is required for ubiquitination of cullin-ring ligases (CRLs), which regulate degradation of a distinct subset of proteins. The more targeted impact of NAE on protein degradation prompted us to study MLN4924, an investigational NAE inhibitor, in preclinical multiple myeloma (MM) models. In vitro treatment with MLN4924 led to dose-dependent decrease of viability (EC50=25–150nM) in a panel of human MM cell lines. MLN4924 was similarly active against a bortezomib-resistant ANBL-6 subline and its bortezomib-sensitive parental cells. MLN4924 had sub-μM activity (EC50 values <500nM) against primary CD138+ MM patient cells and exhibited at least additive effect when combined with dexamethasone, doxorubicin and bortezomib against MM.1S cells. The bortezomib-induced compensatory up-regulation of transcripts for ubiquitin/proteasome was not observed with MLN4924 treatment, suggesting distinct functional roles of NAE vs 20S proteasome. MLN4924 was well tolerated at doses up to 60mg/kg 2x daily and significantly reduced tumor burden in both a subcutaneous and an orthotopic mouse model of MM. These studies provide the framework for the clinical investigation of MLN4924 in MM.
myeloma; cancer; NEDD8; NAE; microenvironment
The ubiquitin-proteasome pathway (UPP) is a major protein degradation system that maintains homeostasis of intracellular proteins, involved in DNA repair, cell cycle regulation, cell proliferation, and drug resistance. Since numerous proteins are processed by proteasomes, their inhibition triggers dramatic disruption of protein homeostasis. Consequently, accumulation of polyubiquitinated proteins triggers different types of cellular stress responses, followed by growth arrest and cytotoxicity. Importantly, multiple myeloma cells are considered to have lower threshold against these stresses than other cell types, which makes MM cells sensitive to proteasome inhibitors.
This study characterized the preclinical anti-myeloma activity of VE465, a low molecular weight pan-Aurora kinase inhibitor. After 96-h drug exposure, several multiple myeloma (MM) cell lines were more sensitive to VE465 compared to non-malignant cells. The anti-MM activity of VE465 was maintained in the presence of interleukin-6 and, interestingly, enhanced by co-culture with stromal cells. However, primary MM cells were less responsive than cell lines. Combinations with dexamethasone (Dex), doxorubicin (Doxo), and bortezomib showed no antagonism. Our study highlights the potential role of the tumor micro-environment in modulating the activity of this drug class.
BM mesenchymal stromal cells (BM-MSCs) support multiple myeloma (MM) cell growth, but little is known about the putative mechanisms by which the BM microenvironment plays an oncogenic role in this disease. Cell-cell communication is mediated by exosomes. In this study, we showed that MM BM-MSCs release exosomes that are transferred to MM cells, thereby resulting in modulation of tumor growth in vivo. Exosomal microRNA (miR) content differed between MM and normal BM-MSCs, with a lower content of the tumor suppressor miR-15a. In addition, MM BM-MSC–derived exosomes had higher levels of oncogenic proteins, cytokines, and adhesion molecules compared with exosomes from the cells of origin. Importantly, whereas MM BM-MSC–derived exosomes promoted MM tumor growth, normal BM-MSC exosomes inhibited the growth of MM cells. In summary, these in vitro and in vivo studies demonstrated that exosome transfer from BM-MSCs to clonal plasma cells represents a previously undescribed and unique mechanism that highlights the contribution of BM-MSCs to MM disease progression.
Multiple myeloma is an incurable malignancy of plasma cells, and its pathogenesis is poorly understood. Here we report the massively parallel sequencing of 38 tumor genomes and their comparison to matched normal DNAs. Several new and unexpected oncogenic mechanisms were suggested by the pattern of somatic mutation across the dataset. These include the mutation of genes involved in protein translation (seen in nearly half of the patients), genes involved in histone methylation, and genes involved in blood coagulation. In addition, a broader than anticipated role of NF-κB signaling was suggested by mutations in 11 members of the NF-κB pathway. Of potential immediate clinical relevance, activating mutations of the kinase BRAF were observed in 4% of patients, suggesting the evaluation of BRAF inhibitors in multiple myeloma clinical trials. These results indicate that cancer genome sequencing of large collections of samples will yield new insights into cancer not anticipated by existing knowledge.
The purpose of these studies was to identify HLA-A2+ immunogenic peptides derived from XBP1 antigens to induce a multiple myeloma (MM)-specific immune response. Six native peptides from non-spliced XBP1 antigen and three native peptides from spliced XBP1 antigen were selected and evaluated for their HLA-A2 specificity. Among them, XBP1184–192, XBP1 SP196–204 and XBP1 SP367–375 peptides showed the highest level of binding affinity, but not stability to HLA-A2 molecules. Novel heteroclitic XBP1 peptides, YISPWILAV or YLFPQLISV, demonstrated a significant improvement in HLA-A2 stability from their native XBP1184–192 or XBP1 SP367–375 peptide, respectively. Cytotoxic T lymphocytes generated by repeated stimulation of CD3+ T cells with each HLA-A2-specific heteroclitic peptide showed an increased percentage of CD8+ (cytotoxic) and CD69+/CD45RO+ (activated memory) T cells and a lower percentage of CD4+ (helper) and CD45RA+/CCR7+ (naïve) T cells, which were distinct from the control T cells. Functionally, the CTLs demonstrated MM-specific and HLA-A2-restricted proliferation, IFN-γ secretion and cytotoxic acivity in response to MM cell lines and importantly, cytotoxicty against primary MM cells. These data demonstrate the distinct immunogenic characteristics of unique heteroclitic XBP1 peptides which induce MM-specific CTLs and highlights their potential application for immunotherapy to treat the patients with MM or its pre-malignant condition.
Within the last decade, several novel classes of anti-myeloma therapeutics have become available. The clinical successes achieved by thalidomide, lenalidomide, and the proteasome inhibitor bortezomib, and in particular the ability of these agents to lead to major clinical responses in patients resistant to conventional or high-dose chemotherapy, have highlighted the importance of expanding even further the spectrum of classes of agents utilized for the treatment of myeloma. Herein, we review the current state of the field of development of novel anti-myeloma agents, with emphasis on classes of therapeutics which have already translated into clinical trials or those in advanced stages of preclinical development. These include second-generation proteasome inhibitors (NPI-0052 and PR-171), heat shock protein 90 (hsp90) inhibitors, 2-methoxyestradiol, histone deacetylase (HDAC) inhibitors (e.g. SAHA, tubacin and LBH589), fibroblast growth factor receptor 3 (FGF-R3) inhibitors, insulin-like growth factor 1 receptor (IGF-1R) inhibitors, mTOR inhibitors, monoclonal antibodies, and agents targeting the tumor microenvironment, including defibrotide.
myeloma; targeted therapy; immunomodulatory; thalidomide; lenalidomide; bortezomib; hsp90 inhibitor
The success of bortezomib therapy for treatment of multiple myeloma (MM) led to the development of structurally and pharmacologically distinct novel proteasome inhibitors. In the present study, we evaluated the efficacy of one such novel orally bioactive proteasome inhibitor MLN9708/MLN2238 in MM using well-established in vitro and in vivo models.
MM cell lines, primary patient cells, and the human MM xenograft animal model were utilized to study the antitumor activity of MN2238.
Treatment of MM cells with MLN2238 predominantly inhibits chymotrypsin-like activity of the proteasome and induces accumulation of ubiquitinated proteins. MLN2238 inhibits growth and induces apoptosis in MM cells resistant to conventional and bortezomib therapies without affecting the viability of normal cells. In animal tumor model studies, MLN2238 is well tolerated and inhibits tumor growth with significantly reduced tumor recurrence. A head-to-head analysis of MLN2238 versus bortezomib showed a significantly longer survival time in mice treated with MLN2238 than mice receiving bortezomib. Immununostaining of MM tumors from MLN2238-treated mice showed growth inhibition, apoptosis, and a decrease in associated angiogenesis. Mechanistic studies showed that MLN2238-triggered apoptosis is associated with activation of caspase-3, caspase-8, and caspase-9; increase in p53, p21, Noxa, PUMA, and E2F; induction of ER stress response proteins Bip, phospho-eIF2-α, and CHOP; and inhibition of NF-κB. Finally, combining MLN2238 with lenalidomide, HDAC inhibitor SAHA or dexamethasone triggers synergistic anti-MM activity.
Our preclinical study supports clinical evaluation of MLN9708, alone or in combination, as a potential MM therapy.
Myeloma; Apoptosis; Proteasome; Novel therapeutics; Proteasome inhibitor
Tanespimycin (17-allylamino-17-demethoxygeldanamycin, 17-AAG) disrupts heat shock protein 90 (HSP90), a key molecular chaperone for signal transduction proteins critical to myeloma growth, survival and drug resistance. In previous studies, tanespimycin monotherapy was well tolerated and active in heavily pretreated patients with relapsed/refractory multiple myeloma (MM). Preclinical data have shown antitumour synergy between tanespimycin and bortezomib, with more pronounced intracellular accumulation of ubiquitinated proteins than either drug alone, an effect attributed to the synergistic suppression of chymotryptic activity in the 20S proteasome. HSP70 induction has been observed in all Phase 1 tanespimycin studies in which it has been measured, with several separate reports of HSP70 overexpression protecting against peripheral nerve injury. In this Phase 2, open-label multicentre study, we compared 1·3 mg/m2 bortezomib + three doses of tanespimycin: 50, 175 and 340 mg/m2 in heavily pretreated patients with relapsed and refractory MM and measured HSP70 expression and proteasome activity levels in plasma of treated patients. The study was closed prematurely for resource-based reasons, precluding dose comparison. Nonetheless, antitumour activity was observed, with promising response rates and promising severity of peripheral neuropathy.
tanespimycin; bortezomib; HSP90; HSP70; peripheral neuropathy
Protein tyrosine kinases of the Janus kinase (JAK) family are associated with many cytokine receptors, which, on ligand binding, regulate important cellular functions such as proliferation, survival, and differentiation. In multiple myeloma, JAKs may be persistently activated due to a constant stimulation by interleukin (IL)-6, which is produced in the bone marrow environment. INCB20 is a synthetic molecule that potently inhibits all members of the JAK family with a 100- to 1,000-fold selectivity for JAKs over >70 other kinases. Treatment of multiple myeloma cell lines and patient tumor cells with INCB20 resulted in a significant and dose-dependent inhibition of spontaneous as well as IL-6-induced cell growth. Importantly, multiple myeloma cell growth was inhibited in the presence of bone marrow stromal cells. The IL-6 dependent cell line INA-6 was particularly sensitive to the drug (IC50 < 1 μmol/L). Growth suppression of INA-6 correlated with an increase in the percentage of apoptotic cells and inhibition of signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 phosphorylation. INCB20 also abrogated the protective effect of IL-6 against dexamethasone by blocking phosphorylation of SHP-2 and AKT. In contrast, AKT phosphorylation induced by insulin-like growth factor-I remained unchanged, showing selectivity of the compound. In a s.c. severe combined immunodeficient mouse model with INA-6, INCB20 significantly delayed INA-6 tumor growth. Our studies show that disruption of JAKs and downstream signaling pathways may both inhibit multiple myeloma cell growth and survival and overcome cytokine-mediated drug resistance, thereby providing the preclinical rationale for the use of JAK inhibitors as a novel therapeutic approach in multiple myeloma.
Lenalidomide is an amino-substituted derivative of thalidomide with direct antiproliferative and cytotoxic effects on the myeloma tumor cell, as well as antiangiogenic activity and immunomodulatory effects. Together with the introduction of bortezomib and thalidomide, lenalidomide has significantly improved the survival of patients with relapsed and refractory myeloma. The most common adverse events associated with lenalidomide include fatigue, skin rash, thrombocytopenia, and neutropenia. In addition, when lenalidomide is combined with dexamethasone or other conventional cytotoxic agents, there is an increase in the incidence of venous thromboembolic events. There is now evidence that continued treatment with lenalidomide has a significant impact on survival by improving the depth and duration of response. This highlights the value of adverse event management and appropriate dose adjustments to prevent toxicity, and of allowing continued treatment until disease progression. In this review, we will discuss the different lenalidomide-based treatment regimens for patients with relapsed/refractory myeloma. This is accompanied by recommendations of how to manage and prevent adverse events associated with lenalidomide-based therapy.
lenalidomide; multiple myeloma; immunomodulatory drugs; relapse treatment; refractory disease
PR-924 is an LMP-7-selective tripeptide epoxyketone proteasome inhibitor that covalently modifies proteasomal N-terminal threonine active sites. In the present study, we show that PR-924 inhibits growth and triggers apoptosis in multiple myeloma (MM) cell lines and primary patient MM cells, without significantly affecting normal peripheral blood mononuclear cells. PR-924-induced apoptosis in MM cells is associated with activation of caspase-3, caspase8, caspase-9, BID, and PARP, translocation of cleaved-BID to mitochondria, and cytochrome-c release. In vivo administration of PR-924 inhibits tumor growth in human plasmacytoma xenografts. Results from SCID-hu model show a significant reduction in the shIL-6R levels in mice treated with PR-924 versus vehicle-control. PR-924 treatment was well tolerated as evidenced by the lack of weight loss. Importantly, treatment of tumor-bearing mice with PR-924, but not vehicle alone, prolonged survival. Our preclinical findings therefore validate immunoproteasome LMP-7 subunit as a novel therapeutic target in MM.
Current interest in proteasome inhibitors for cancer therapy has stimulated considerable research efforts to identify the molecular pathway to their cytotoxicity with a view to identifying the mechanisms of sensitivity and resistance as well as informing the development of new drugs. Zhao and Vuori describe this month in BMC Biology experiments indicating a novel role of the adaptor protein p130Cas in sensitivity to apoptosis induced not only by proteasome inhibitors but also by the unrelated drug doxorubicin.
See research article: http:// http://www.biomedcentral.com/1741-7007/9/73
Dysregulated cell cycling is a universal hallmark of cancer and is often mediated by abnormal activation of cyclin dependent kinases (CDKs) and their cyclin partners. Overexpression of individual complexes are reported in multiple myeloma (MM), making them attractive therapeutic targets. Here we investigate the preclinical activity of a novel small-molecule multi-CDK inhibitor, AT7519, in MM. We demonstrate the anti-MM activity of AT7519 displaying potent cytotoxicity and apoptosis; associated with in vivo tumor growth inhibition and prolonged survival. At the molecular level, AT7519 inhibited RNA polymerase II (RNA pol II) phosphorylation, a CDK9, 7 substrate, associated with decreased RNA synthesis confirmed by [3H] Uridine incorporation. Additionally, AT7519 inhibited glycogen synthase kinase 3 beta (GSK-3β) phosphorylation; conversely pretreatment with a selective GSK-3 inhibitor and shRNA GSK-3β knockdown restored MM survival, suggesting the involvement of GSK-3β in AT7519-induced apoptosis. GSK-3β activation was independent of RNA pol II dephosphorylation confirmed by alpha-amanitin, a specific RNA pol II inihibitor, demonstrating potent inhibition of RNA pol II phosphorylation without corresponding effects on GSK-3β phosphorylation. These results offer new insights into the crucial, yet controversial role of GSK-3β in MM and demonstrate significant anti-MM activity of AT7519, providing the rationale for its clinical evaluation in MM.
myeloma; cyclin dependent kinase; GSK-3β; RNA pol II
Multiple myeloma (MM) is a clonal plasma cell malignancy clinically characterized by osteolytic lesions, immunodeficiency, and renal disease. There are an estimated 750,000 people diagnosed with MM worldwide, with a median overall survival of 3 – 5 years. Besides chromosomal aberrations, translocations, and mutations in essential growth and tumor-suppressor genes, accumulating data strongly highlight the pathophysiologic role of the bone marrow (BM) microenvironment in MM pathogenesis. Based on this knowledge, several novel agents have been identified, and treatment options in MM have fundamentally changed during the last decade. Thalidomide, bortezomib, and lenalidomide have been incorporated into conventional cytotoxic and transplantation regimens, first in relapsed and refractory and now also in newly diagnosed MM. Despite these significant advances, there remains an urgent need for more efficacious and tolerable drugs. Indeed, a plethora of preclinical agents awaits translation from the bench to the bedside. This article reviews the scientific rationale of new therapy regimens and newly identified therapeutic agents – small molecules as well as therapeutic antibodies – that hold promise to further improve outcome in MM.
bone marrow microenvironment; combination therapy; multiple myeloma
Deregulated c-Myc occurs in ~30% of human cancers. Similarly, hypoxia-inducible factor (HIF) is commonly overexpressed in a variety of human malignancies. Under physiologic conditions, HIF inhibits c-Myc activity; however, when deregulated oncogenic c-Myc collaborates with HIF in inducing the expression of VEGF, PDK1 and hexokinase 2. Most of the knowledge of HIF derives from studies investigating a role of HIF under hypoxic conditions, however, HIF-1α stabilization is also found in normoxic conditions. Specifically, under hypoxic conditions HIF-1-mediated regulation of oncogenic c-Myc plays a pivotal role in conferring metabolic advantages to tumor cells as well as adaptation to the tumorigenic micromilieu. In addition, our own results show that under normoxic conditions oncogenic c-Myc is required for constitutive high HIF-1 protein levels and activity in Multiple Myeloma (MM) cells, thereby influencing VEGF secretion and angiogenic activity within the bone marrow microenvironment. Further studies are needed to delineate the functional relevance of HIF, MYC, and the HIF-MYC collaboration in MM and other malignancies, also integrating the tumor microenvironment and the cellular context. Importantly, early studies already demonstrate promising preclinical of novel agents, predominantly small molecules, which target c-Myc, HIF or both.
HIF; c-Myc; targeted therapy; tumor microenvironment
Recent leaps in elucidating the biology of myeloma, particularly the intracellular pathways and the complex interaction with the bone marrow microenvironment, have resulted in an unprecedented surge of novel, targeted therapies and therapeutic regimens. There are currently over 30 new agents being tested in the treatment of multiple myeloma (MM). Many of these are novel, targeted agents that have demonstrated significant efficacy and prolonged survival. In this review, we summarize the current understanding of the mechanisms of action of novel therapies being tested in the preclinical and clinical settings in MM. These include agents that act directly on the intracellular signaling pathways, cell maintenance processes, and cell surface receptors. Finally, we present the clinical responses to some of these agents when used alone or in combination in clinical trials of patients with MM. Indeed, MM has become a model disease for the development of novel, therapeutic agents.
multiple myeloma; signaling pathways; novel therapy; interleukin-6 (IL-6); proteasome inhibitor; thalidomide