Paper of the month

February 2021

MyelomaModified Adipocytes Exhibit Metabolic Dysfunction and a Senescence-Associated Secretory Phenotype

Heather Fairfield, Amel Dudakovic , Casper M Khatib, Mariah Farrell , Samantha Costa , Carolyne Falank , Maja Hinge , Connor S Murphy , Victoria DeMambro , Jessica A Pettitt , Christine W Lary , Heather E Driscoll Michelle M McDonald , Moustapha Kassem , Clifford Rosen , Thomas L Andersen, Andre J van Wijnen, Abbas Jafari, Michaela R Reagan

Cancer Research, 2021. DOI: 10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-20-1088

Bone marrow adipocytes (BMAd) have recently been implicated in accelerating bone metastatic cancers, such as acute myelogenous leukemia and breast cancer. Importantly, bone marrow adipose tissue (BMAT) expands with aging and obesity, two key risk factors in multiple myeloma disease prevalence, suggesting that BMAds may influence and be influenced by myeloma cells in the marrow. Here, we provide evidence that reciprocal interactions and cross-regulation of myeloma cells and BMAds play a role in multiple myeloma pathogenesis and treatment response. Bone marrow biopsies from patients with multiple myeloma revealed significant loss of BMAT with myeloma cell infiltration of the marrow, whereas BMAT was restored after treatment for multiple myeloma. Myeloma cells reduced BMAT in different preclinical murine models of multiple myeloma and in vitro using myeloma cell-adipocyte cocultures. In addition, multiple myeloma cells altered adipocyte gene expression and cytokine secretory profiles, which were also associated with bioenergetic changes and induction of a senescent-like phenotype. In vivo, senescence markers were also increased in the bone marrow of tumor-burdened mice. BMAds, in turn, provided resistance to dexamethasone-induced cell-cycle arrest and apoptosis, illuminating a new possible driver of myeloma cell evolution in a drug-resistant clone. Our findings reveal that bidirectional interactions between BMAds and myeloma cells have significant implications for the pathogenesis and treatment of multiple myeloma. Targeting senescence in the BMAd or other bone marrow cells may represent a novel therapeutic approach for treatment of multiple myeloma. SIGNIFICANCE: This study changes the foundational understanding of how cancer cells hijack the bone marrow microenvironment and demonstrates that tumor cells induce senescence and metabolic changes in adipocytes, potentially driving new therapeutic directions.

Paper proposed by Erica Scheller 

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