Research Papers:

Multiple myeloma induces Mcl-1 expression and survival of myeloid-derived suppressor cells

Kim De Veirman _, Jo A. Van Ginderachter, Susanne Lub, Nathan De Beule, Kris Thielemans, Ivan Bautmans, Babatunde O. Oyajobi, Elke De Bruyne, Eline Menu, Miguel Lemaire, Ivan Van Riet, Karin Vanderkerken and Els Van Valckenborgh

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Oncotarget. 2015; 6:10532-10547. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.3300

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Kim De Veirman1, Jo A. Van Ginderachter2,3, Susanne Lub1, Nathan De Beule1, Kris Thielemans4, Ivan Bautmans5, Babatunde O. Oyajobi6, Elke De Bruyne1, Eline Menu1, Miguel Lemaire1, Ivan Van Riet1, Karin Vanderkerken1,*, Els Van Valckenborgh1,*

1Laboratory of Hematology and Immunology, Myeloma Center Brussels, Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB), Brussels, Belgium

2Laboratory of Cellular and Molecular Immunology, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Brussels, Belgium

3Myeloid Cell Immunology Laboratory, VIB, Brussels, Belgium

4Department of Immunology-Physiology, Laboratory of Molecular and Cellular Therapy, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Brussels, Belgium

5Gerontology & Frailty in Ageing Departments, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Brussels, Belgium

6Department of Cellular & Structural Biology and Cancer Therapy and Research Center, The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, San Antonio, USA

*These authors have contributed equally to this work

Correspondence to:

Els Van Valckenborgh, e-mail: [email protected]

Keywords: multiple myeloma, myeloid-derived suppressor cells, generation, mechanism, targeting

Received: January 26, 2015     Accepted: February 08, 2015     Published: March 23, 2015


Myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSC) are contributing to an immunosuppressive environment by their ability to inhibit T cell activity and thereby promoting cancer progression. An important feature of the incurable plasma cell malignancy Multiple Myeloma (MM) is immune dysfunction. MDSC were previously identified to be present and active in MM patients, however little is known about the MDSC-inducing and -activating capacity of MM cells. In this study we investigated the effects of the tumor microenvironment on MDSC survival. During MM progression in the 5TMM mouse model, accumulation of MDSC in the bone marrow was observed in early stages of disease development, while circulating myeloid cells were increased at later stages of disease. Interestingly, in vivo MDSC targeting by anti-GR1 antibodies and 5-Fluorouracil resulted in a significant reduced tumor load in 5TMM-diseased mice. In vitro generation of MDSC was demonstrated by increased T cell immunosuppressive capacity and MDSC survival was observed in the presence of MM-conditioned medium. Finally, increased Mcl-1 expression was identified as underlying mechanism for MDSC survival. In conclusion, our data demonstrate that soluble factors from MM cells are able to generate MDSC through Mcl-1 upregulation and this cell population can be considered as a possible target in MM disease.

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