Abstract 3830

Poster Board III-766

Multiple myeloma (MM) is an incurable bone marrow derived plasma cell malignancy. Despite significant improvements in treating patients suffering from this disease, MM remains uniformly fatal due to intrinsic or acquired drug resistance. Thus, additional modalities for treating MM are required. Targeting cell cycle progression proteins provides such a novel treatment strategy. Here we assess the in vivo and in vitro anti-MM activity of MLN8237, a small molecule Aurora A kinase (AURKA) inhibitor. AURKA is a mitotic kinase that localizes to centrosomes and the proximal mitotic spindle, where it functions in mitotic spindle formation and in regulating chromatid congression and segregation. In MM, increased AURKA gene expression has been correlated with centrosome amplification and a worse prognosis; thus, inhibition of AURKA in MM may prove to be therapeutically beneficial. Here we show that AURKA protein is highly expressed in eight MM cell lines and primary patient MM cells. The affect of AURKA inhibition was examined using cytotoxicity (MTT viability) and proliferation (3[H]thymidine incorporation) assays after treatment of these cell lines and primary cells with MLN8237 (0.0001 μM – 4 μM) for 24, 48 and 72h Although there was no significant inhibition of cell viability and proliferation at 24h, a marked effect on both viability and proliferation occurred after 48 and 72h treatment at concentrations as low as 0.01 μM. Moreover, MLN8237 inhibits cell growth and proliferation of primary MM cells and cell lines even in the presence of bone marrow stromal cells (BMSCs) or cytokines IL-6 and IGF1. Similar experiments revealed that MLN8237 did not induce cytotoxicity in normal peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) as measured by MTT assay, but did inhibit proliferation at 48 and 72h, as measured by the 3[H]thymidine incorporation assay. To delineate the mechanisms of cytotoxicity and growth inhibitory activity of MLN8237, apoptotic markers and cell cycle profiles were examined in both MM cell lines and primary MM cells. Annexin V and propidium iodide staining of MM cell lines cultured in the presence or absence of MLN8237 (1 μM) for 24, 48 and 72h demonstrated apoptosis, which was further confirmed by increased cleavage of PARP, capase-9, and caspase-3 by immunoblotting. In addition, MLN8237 upregulated p53-phospho (Ser 15) and tumor suppressor genes p21 and p27. Cell cycle analysis demonstrated that MLN8237 treatment induces an accumulation of tetraploid cells by abrogating G2/M progression. We next determined whether combining MLN8237 with conventional (melphalan, doxorubucin, dexamethasone) and other novel (VELCADE®) therapeutic agents elicited synergistic/additive anti-MM activity by isobologram analysis using CalcuSyn software. Combining MLN8237 with melphalan, dexamethasone, or VELCADE® induces synergistic/additive anti-MM activity against MM cell lines in vitro (p≤0.05, CI<1). To confirm in vivo anti-MM effects of MLN8237, MM.1S cells were injected s.c. into g-irradiated CB-17 SCID mice (n=40, 10 mice EA group). When tumors were measurable (>100 mm3), mice were treated with daily oral doses of vehicle alone or 7.5mg/kg, 15mg/kg, 30mg/kg MLN8237 for 21 days. Overall survival (defined as time between initiation of treatment and sacrifice or death) was compared in vehicle versus- MLN8237- treated mice by Kaplan-Meier method. Tumor burden was significantly reduced (p=0.02) and overall survival was significantly increased (p=0.02, log-rank test) in animals treated with 30mg/kg MLN8237. In vivo anti-MM effects of MLN8237 were further validated by performing TUNEL apoptosis-cell death assay in tumor tissues excised from control or treated animals. Importantly, a significant dose-related increase in apoptotic cells was observed in tumors from animals that received MLN8237 versus controls. These results suggest that MLN8237 represents a promising novel targeted therapy in MM.


Ecsedy:Millennium Pharmaceutical: Employment. Munshi:Celgene: Membership on an entity's Board of Directors or advisory committees; Millennium: Membership on an entity's Board of Directors or advisory committees; Novartis: Membership on an entity's Board of Directors or advisory committees. Richardson:Celgene: Membership on an entity's Board of Directors or advisory committees; Millennium: Membership on an entity's Board of Directors or advisory committees. Anderson:Millennium: Research Funding; Novartis: Research Funding; Celgene: Research Funding.

Author notes


Asterisk with author names denotes non-ASH members.