BACKGROUND: Tyrosine phosphorylation is a central event in the regulation of a variety of biological processes such as cell proliferation, migration, adhesion, and survival. Waldenström Macroglobulinemia (WM) is an incurable lymphoplasmacytic lymphoma with limited options of therapy and characterized by widespread involvement of the bone marrow. We sought to determine whether the protein tyrosine kinase Src regulates adhesion and survival in WM.

METHODS: The WM cell lines BCWM1, WM-WSU, and IgM secreting lymphoma cells lines MEC-1 and RL were used in these studies. Primary CD19+ WM cells were obtained from the bone marrow of patients after informed consent. AstraZeneca Biopharmaceuticals (London, England) provided the Src inhibitor AZD0503 (AZD). Cytotoxicity and DNA synthesis were measured using MTT assay and [3H]-thymidine uptake, respectively. Apoptosis was measured using flow cytometry with Apo 2.7 staining. Western blotting was performed to determine downstream signaling pathways. Migration was performed using the transwell migration assay.

RESULTS: We demonstrated that pSrc is overexpressed in WM cells compared to control B cells. Similarly, phospho-Src protein expression was upregulated in WM cell lines, specifically BCWM.1 but not in WM-WSU. We then showed that pSrc regulates migration and adhesion in response to the chemokine SDF-1, as well as in vivo homing using in vivo flow cytometry. The use of the specific Src inhibitor AZD0530 led to significant inhibition of adhesion and migration in cell lines with pSrc activation, but not in those deficient of Src activation. Similarly, inhibition of Src activity led to significant inhibition of proliferation and survival through inhibition of STAT3, Akt, and ERK/MAPK pathways. The monoclonal antibody rituximab signals through Src kinase, and the combination of AZD0530 and rituximab was synergistic in vitro.

CONCLUSION: Taken together, these studies delineate the role of Src kinase activity in WM and provide the framework for future clinical trials using Src inhibitors in combination with rituximab to improve the outcome of patients with WM.

Disclosures: No relevant conflicts of interest to declare.

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