Runx2 deficiency in osteoblasts promotes myeloma progression by altering the bone microenvironment at new bone sites

Academic Article


  • Multiple myeloma is a plasma cell malignancy that thrives in the bone marrow (BM), with frequent progression to new local and distant bone sites. Our previous studies demonstrated that multiple myeloma cells at primary sites secrete soluble factors and suppress osteoblastogenesis via the inhibition of Runt-related transcription factor 2 (Runx2) in pre- and immature osteoblasts (OB) in new bone sites, prior to the arrival of metastatic tumor cells. However, it is unknown whether OB-Runx2 suppression in new bone sites feeds back to promote multiple myeloma dissemination to and progression in these areas. Hence, we developed a syngeneic mouse model of multiple myeloma in which Runx2 is specifically deleted in the immature OBs of C57BL6/KaLwRij mice (OB-Runx2 mice) to study the effect of OB-Runx2 deficiency on multiple myeloma progression in new bone sites. In vivo studies with this model demonstrated that OB-Runx2 deficiency attracts multiple myeloma cells and promotes multiple myeloma tumor growth in bone. Mechanistic studies further revealed that OB-Runx2 deficiency induces an immunosuppressive microenvironment in BM that is marked by an increase in the concentration and activation of myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSC) and the suppression and exhaustion of cytotoxic CD8+ T cells. In contrast, MDSC depletion by either gemcitabine 5-fluorouracil treatment in OB-Runx2 mice prevented these effects and inhibited multiple myeloma tumor growth in BM. These novel discoveries demonstrate that OB-Runx2 deficiency in new bone sites promotes multiple myeloma dissemination and progression by increasing metastatic cytokines and MDSCs in BM and inhibiting BM immunity. Importantly, MDSC depletion can block multiple myeloma progression promoted by OB-Runx2 deficiency. Significance: This study demonstrates that Runx2 deficiency in immature osteoblasts at distant bone sites attracts myeloma cells and allows myeloma progression in new bone sites via OB-secreted metastatic cytokines and MDSC-mediated suppression of bone marrow immunity.
  • Published In

  • Cancer Research  Journal
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Xu X; Zhang C; Trotter TN; Gowda PS; Lu Y; Ponnazhagan S; Javed A; Li J; Yang Y
  • Start Page

  • 1036
  • End Page

  • 1048
  • Volume

  • 80
  • Issue

  • 5