Abstract 1848

Poster Board I-874

Multiple myeloma (MM) is the second most common hematologic malignancy and characterized by clonal proliferation of CD138+ bone marrow plasma cells. Despite various treatment options few patients with MM have been cured. Furthermore, high relapse rates and recent evidence from xenogeneic transplantation models and primary MM marrow samples indicate that a rare population of cells or MM cancer stem cells (MM CSCs) within the marrow regenerates itself and may be responsible for drug resistance. These MM CSCs are phenotypically similar to memory B cells (CD138- CD34-CD19+) but differ in that they have the capacity to regenerate themselves or self-renewal. However, most of the reports on MM CSC animal models are established in NOD/SCID mice that require a larger number (1 – 10 × 106) of bead sorted cells for each animal. In addition, the latency of MM induction (4 – 6 months) in NOD/SCID mouse models and lack of in vivo tracking of the malignant clone preclude robust pre-clinical testing of novel therapeutic strategies that target MM CSC.

Mononuclear cells were isolated from autologous mobilized peripheral blood of at least four primary MM patients after Ficoll gradient centrifugation followed by immunomagnetic bead depletion of CD34+ and CD138+ cells and/or further sorted using a FACSAria. The CD138-CD34- population was transduced with lentiviral luciferase GFP (GLF) and transplanted (10,000 to 106 cells per mouse) intrahepatically into neonatal RAG2-/- gamma chain-/- (RAG2-/-gc-/-) mice. Engraftment was compared to mice transplanted with either CD34+ or CD138+ cells. Mice were imaged with an in vivo imaging system (IVIS) to detect bioluminescent engraftment. Results showed that a relatively rare CD138- CD27+ population, resembling memory B cells (∼1.2%), persists in MM autografts and can engraft immunocompromised mice more rapidly and effectively than the CD138+ (Lin+) population of mature plasma cells. This data supports the persistence of CSCs despite high dose chemotherapy further underscoring the need for CSC targeted therapy. Bioluminescence was detected in live mice transplanted with as little as 60,000 cells of CD138- CD34- population and as soon as 4 weeks after transplantation. FACS analysis of these mice demonstrated successful engraftment with the presence of CD45+ and CD138+ population in bone marrow, spleen and liver and bioluminescence was also detected in the secondary transplantation of cells from MMCSC primary engraftment demonstrating the self-renewal capacity of this rare CD138- CD27+ population. Our results suggest that by utilizing a lentiviral GFP-luciferase system in a highly immunocompromised mouse strain fewer cells will be required to monitor MM engraftment and perhaps hasten disease development. Further studies to confirm the expression of selected IgG genes from myeloma cells and to characterize the self-renewal capacity with genes involved in developmental signaling such as sonic hedgehog and wnt pathways are underway.


Goff:Coronado Biosciences: Research Funding.

Author notes


Asterisk with author names denotes non-ASH members.