Abstract 1845

Inflammation is a driving factor in the pathogenesis of many cancers including multiple myeloma (MM). The active role that cytokines play, IL-1β in particular, during the early stages of MM has been extensively characterized. Myeloma is a plasma cell tumor whose early stages are characterized by cytokine dependent growth, predominantly driven by IL-6. We have demonstrated that IL-1β is a key inducer of IL-6 expressed by bone marrow stromal cells in a paracrine fashion during the progression of multiple myeloma from smoldering myeloma (SMM) to active disease (Mayo Clinic Proc 84:114 (Feb. 2009)). Elevated ATP levels have been documented in vivo in tumor micro-environments and is a potential contributing factor to IL-1β induced inflammation. The P2X7 receptor (P2X7R) is an ATP-gated ion channel expressed by cells of the hematopoetic lineage that has been shown to play a critical role in IL-1b processing and secretion. We investigated the role this receptor may have in the release of IL-1β in the bone marrow microenvironment using bone marrow samples from both chemotherapy treated and untreated patients.

Myeloma cell lines were evaluated by RT-PCR for the expression of P2X7R mRNA. Expression was detected and confirmed by sequencing in ANBL-6, MM1.S, U266, RPMI-8226 and KAS-6/1 and was comparable to U937, a previously characterized P2X7R positive cell line. A newly derived plasmacytoma cell line, PCYT3, showed very low levels of message expression. The ability of ATP, the P2X7R agonist, to trigger the processing and release of IL-1β by activation of the P2X7 channel was studied using KAS-Pro, a myeloma cell line stably transfected with a pro- IL-1β gene. IL-1β, measured by ELISA, was released in a dose dependent fashion in response to increasing amounts of ATP ranging from.6mM to 5mM. Four P2X7R specific antagonists were tested for their effect on ATP stimulated IL- 1β release from KAS-Pro; all 4 compounds demonstrated inhibition in a dose dependent manner with varying degrees of potency correlating with P2X7R inhibition.

In addition fresh patient samples (8 MGUS/7SMM/9 newly diagnosed MM as well as 12 Treated MM) were evaluated for receptor expression and function. All stages of disease expressed the receptor by RT-PCR. Analysis of samples from all stages of MM, as measured directly by IL-1β ELISA as well as indirectly by measurement of IL-1β induced IL-6 production from normal bone marrow stromal cells, showed functional receptor activation in response to ATP stimulation. IL-6 production detected from MGUS patient samples had a mean result of 2,253 pg/ml, the mean for SMM was 5,495 pg/ml, MM were 6,875 pg/ml while treated MM samples showed a mean result of 15,219 pg/m. Greater than 90% inhibition of IL-1β release by the P2X7R antagonists was seen for all patients who demonstrated a positive ATP induced IL-1β release (see figure). We observed a greater than 2 fold increase in IL-1β release between the treated MM samples and the newly diagnosed MM samples, suggesting a chemotherapy induced inflammation process may be ongoing in these patients.

These results confirm the activity of functional P2X7 receptors on myeloma cell lines and in fresh patient samples and suggest a role for the use of P2X7 receptor antagonists in the therapy of myeloma, particularly in patients undergoing chemotherapy.


Hromockyj:Pfizer Corporation: Employment. Meyer:Pfizer Corporation: Employment.

Author notes


Asterisk with author names denotes non-ASH members.

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