A member of the Tec family kinases, Bruton’s tyrosine kinase (Btk) modulates B-cell development and activation, and plays an important role in antibody production. Interestingly, Btk and Tec (the other Tec kinase family) regulate osteoclast (OC) differentiation via Receptor Activator of Nuclear Factor κ B (RANK) signaling. Moreover, OCs derived from X-linked agammaglobulinemia (XLA) patients who harbor Btk null mutations have impaired function.

Here we show that a potent and specific Btk inhibitor, CC-292 inhibits OC function in multiple myeloma (MM) patients. CC-292 is a highly selective, covalent Btk inhibitor. OC derived from MM patient monocytes were assayed with or without CC-292. Interestingly, OC function was significantly inhibited in the presence of CC-292 (100 nM and 1000 nM) as demonstrated by pit formation assay. However, mRNA expression for TRAP and Cathepsin K, two OC differentiation markers were increased in the presence of CC-292 suggesting that CC-292 inhibits OC function without inhibiting OC differentiation.

OC sealing zone contributes to OC bone resorption function. Given the role of c-Src and Proline-rich tyrosine Kinase 2 (Pyk2) signaling in sealing zone formation and OC function we next evaluated CC-292’s effect on Pyk2 and c-Src. Pyk2 plays a role in OC activation and localizes to the sealing zone in OC. RANK signaling activates c-Src, which phosphorylates Pyk2. Moreover c-Src controls OC bone resorption by regulating actin organization via cortactin. Interestingly, CC-292 (100 nM) inhibited c-Src total protein, c-Src phosphorylation and Pyk2 phosphorylation. Furthermore, CC-292 (100 nM) inhibited cortactin protein and mRNA expression, and upregulated c-Cbl protein (E3 ubiquitin ligase for c-Src) expression in OC derived from MM patient monocytes with resultant inhibition of OC sealing zone formation. However, at the same low doses (100 nM) CC-292 did not show any direct in vitro effect against MM cell viability.

Because carfilzomib, a proteasome inhibitor that binds irreversibly to its target, has potent anti-MM activity and also inhibits OC resorptive activity, we studied CC-292 in combination with carfilzomib. Our data suggests that carfilzomib (1.25 nM) has no impact on OC sealing zone formation but inhibits OC differentiation. CC-292 (100 nM) in combination with carfilzomib (1.25 nM) inhibited not only sealing zone formation but also OC differentiation, resulting in stronger suppression of OC function than carfilzomib alone.

The combination of CC-292 (30mg/kg p.o. for 5 days per week for 6 weeks) and carfilzomib (3 mg/kg i.v. x 2 days per week for 4 weeks and 2 mg/kg i.v. x 2 days per week for 2 weeks) significantly inhibited tumor burden and myeloma cell numbers in a diffuse NOD-SCID MM model. The calvarial cells derived from these mice treated with CC-292 alone, carfilzomib alone or the combination showed higher osteocalcin mRNA (osteoblast differentiation marker) expression. A specific bone resorption marker, carboxy-terminal telopeptide collagen crosslinks (CTX) in mouse serum was significantly inhibited in CC-292 and CC-292 in combination with carfilzomib treatment groups in comparison with control mice. Furthermore, 3D microCT reconstructions showed increase in cancellous bone volume in lumbar vertebrae in mice treated with CC-292 or carfilzomib, while the combination treatment resulted in an increase in cancellous bone volume in an additive manner.

These data demonstrate that the novel BTK inhibitor CC-292 inhibits OC function through inhibition of OC sealing zone formation. Moreover, CC-292 in combination with carfilzomib augments effects against the bone microenvironment with resultant anti-MM activity.


Arastu-Kapur:Onyx Pharmaceuticals, Inc.: Employment. Evans:Celgene Avilomics Research: Employment, Equity Ownership. Singh:Celgene Avilomics Research: Employment, Equity Ownership. Kirk:Onyx Pharmaceuticals, Inc.: Employment. Westlin:Celgene Avilomics Research: Employment, Equity Ownership. Raje:Celgene: Consultancy; Millenium: Consultancy; Onyx: Consultancy; Amgen: Consultancy; Acetylon: Research Funding; Eli Lilly: Research Funding.

Author notes


Asterisk with author names denotes non-ASH members.

Sign in via your Institution