Osteolytic bone disease (OBD) is a frequent complication of multiple myeloma (MM), affecting 70 to 80% of the patients. OBD is characterized by imbalanced bone remodeling, due to decreased osteoblast (OB) number and increased osteoclast (OC) formation and activity. MM cells secrete osteoclastogenic factors, such as receptor activator of nuclear factor kappa B ligand (RANKL) and CCL3. In turn, OC support MM cell proliferation and survival, thus promoting a positive feedback that exacerbates bone resorption. Chemokines modulate osteoclastogenesis and promote MM cell proliferation, in particular CCL3 and its receptor CCR1 play an important role in mediating OBD in MM. MLN3897 (Millennium Pharmaceuticals, Cambridge) is a novel small molecule specific antagonist of human CCR1 (IC50 0.8 nM). It has a favorable toxicity profile in healthy volunteers and is currently undergoing phase II clinical trials in rheumatoid arthritis and multiple sclerosis. Here we evaluate the effects of MLN3897 on OC function and activity, as well as OC-MM cell interactions. Our in vitro data demonstrates a dual mechanism of action for MLN3897: it inhibits osteoclastogenesis and also overcomes the protective effects conferred by OC on MM cells. Our data further shows inhibition of OC formation and function by 40 and 70%, respectively, following MLN3897 treatment. This is mediated via inhibition of the fusion process and is accompanied by downregulation of pERK and c-fos signaling. To analyze its effect on MM cells, we verified CCR1 and CCR5 expression levels on MM1.S (15% and 3.6%) and OPM1 (3.8 and 0.7%). Our data show that OC secrete high levels of CCL3 which triggers MM cell migration; and that MLN3897 abrogates these effects by inhibiting the PI3K/Akt pathway. Moreover, MLN3897 overcomes the proliferative advantage conferred by OC on MM cells, as demonstrated in INA6, MM1.S and MM patient derived primary cells. OC induced MM cell proliferation is mediated by adhesion and cytokine secretion, and MLN3897 abrogates both MM cell-to-OC adhesion and interleukin-6 (IL6) secretion by OC in a co-culture system, thereby resulting in decreased MM cell survival and proliferation. To confirm these in vitro results, in vivo studies in a SCID-hu mouse model are underway. Implanted SCID-Hu INA-6 bearing mice are treated with twice daily oral MLN3897 for 3 weeks. The evaluation of osteolytic lesions and OC, OB and endothelial cell number; and tumor burden will be presented. Our in vitro results therefore show novel biologic sequelae of CCL3 and its inhibition on both osteoclastogenesis and MM cell growth. Our in vivo experiments will further validate the role of CCR1 in a human BM microenvironment-MM model, providing the framework for clinical trials of MLN3897 for the treatment of OBD in MM.

Author notes

Disclosure: No relevant conflicts of interest to declare.