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1600 Targeting PI3K-AKT-mTOR Signaling in Multiple Myeloma Mesenchymal Stem Cells Mediates Antiproliferative Effect on Myeloma Cells

Program: Oral and Poster Abstracts
Session: 651. Multiple Myeloma and Plasma Cell Dyscrasias: Basic and Translational: Poster I
Hematology Disease Topics & Pathways:
Translational Research, Diseases
Saturday, December 11, 2021, 5:30 PM-7:30 PM

Luca Heinmann1*, Helal Mohammed Mohammed Ahmed Noman, MBBS2, Klara Möllers1*, Subbaiah Chary Nimmagadda, PhD1*, Kaiyan Sun1*, Daria Frank, PhD1*, Hanna Korab3*, Lanying Wei4*, Anja Baumann3*, Alexandra Poos, PhD3*, Marc-Steffen Raab5*, Georg Lenz, Prof., MD6 and Cyrus Khandanpour, PD, MD1

1Department of Medicine A, University Hospital Muenster, Muenster, Germany
2Department of Medicine A, University Hospital Muenster, Münster, Germany
3Clinical Cooperation Unit (CCU) Molecular Hematology/Oncology, German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ), Heidelberg, Germany
4Institute of Medical Informatics, University Hospital Muenster, Muenster, Germany., Muenster, Germany
5Clinical Cooperation Unit Molecular Hematology/Oncology, German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ) and Department of Internal Medicine V, University of Heidelberg, Heidelberg, Germany
6Department of Medicine A, Hematology, Oncology and Pneumology, University Hospital Muenster, Muenster, Germany

Introduction: Multiple myeloma (MM) is a B-cell malignancy characterized by an abnormal proliferation and infiltration of malignant plasma cells in the bone marrow (BM). Mesenchymal stromal cells (MSCs) represent a crucial component of the BM niche and mediate essential signalling via cytokines and cell-cell interactions. The interplay of MM cells and BM-MSC is complex and relies on multiple signaling pathways leading to MM progression and therapeutic resistance.

Objectives: MM remains an incurable disease so far. Distinctive for this disease is a long-lasting polarization of the BM niche influencing MM progression and prognosis. We, therefore, focussed on MSCs to identify enrichment for different hallmark gene sets and their aberrant signaling contributing to the pathogenesis of the disease, therapy response and to further identify novel therapeutic strategies.

Methods: BM-MSCs were isolated from patients with MM at diagnosis (MM-D-MSC) and in remission (MM-R-MSC) as well as from donors with other malignant diseases (CTR-MSC). RNA sequencing and Western Blot were used for examination of enriched pathways. Various functional assays for proliferation, apoptosis and cell cycle were performed either using a mono-culture or co-culture protocol of MSC and the MM-cell lines MM.1S and SKMM2 treating the cells with the pan-PI3K-inhibitor GDC-0941.

Results: MM-D-MSCs supported the growth of myeloma cell lines better (3 fold, p<0.01) than MM-R- and CTR-MSCs. Our results demonstrate that MM-D-MSCs have a distinct gene expression profile compared to CTR-MSC indicating potential nodes of crosstalk and therapeutic importance. Amongst others, the PI3K-AKT-mTOR hallmark gene set was significantly enriched in MM-D-MSCs as compared to CTR-MSCs (p<0.001).

We confirmed these findings on a proteomic level. We found evidence for the upregulation of PI3Kα, AKT, pAKT and mTOR in MM-D-MSC comparing to the other MM-R- and CTR-MSCs (p<0.05). We treated these MSC and the MM-cell lines MM.1S and SKMM2 with the PI3-Kinase inhibitor GDC-0941. The treatment reduced the signaling PI3Kα, AKT and mTOR in both, MSC and MM-cells.

As stated MM-D-MSC supported the growth of myeloma cells better than other MSC types. However, upon GDC-0941 treatment, the proliferation of MM-D-MSCs was significantly reduced compared to the other MSC-types. In addition, the inhibition of proliferation of myeloma cell lines MM1S and SKMM2 was much more pronounced when they were cocultured with MM-D-MSC (32 and 34 %, p=0.04) compared to the growth of myeloma cells in coculture with MSC types, either in remission or other malignancies.

Conclusion: We here identified functionally distinct differences in MM-D-MSCs compared to MM-R-MSCs or CTR-MSCs. Our data further provides a deeper insight into the molecular signature of MM-MSCs, a predictive of patient prognosis and treatment outcome. Targeting MSCs as a crucial part of the MM-BM niche by using PI3K-inhibitors could contribute to novel therapeutic strategies to effectively block MM-MSC interaction improving overall patient survival.

Disclosures: Raab: Roche: Consultancy; Sanofi: Membership on an entity's Board of Directors or advisory committees, Research Funding; GSK: Honoraria, Membership on an entity's Board of Directors or advisory committees; Celgene: Membership on an entity's Board of Directors or advisory committees; Novartis: Membership on an entity's Board of Directors or advisory committees, Research Funding; Abbvie: Consultancy, Honoraria; Janssen: Membership on an entity's Board of Directors or advisory committees; BMS: Consultancy, Membership on an entity's Board of Directors or advisory committees; Amgen: Consultancy, Membership on an entity's Board of Directors or advisory committees. Khandanpour: BMS/Celgene: Honoraria; Sanofi: Honoraria, Research Funding; Pfizer: Honoraria; AstraZeneca: Honoraria, Research Funding; Janssen: Honoraria; Takeda: Honoraria; GSK: Honoraria.

*signifies non-member of ASH