Autocrine insulin-like growth factor 1 and stem cell factor but not interleukin 6 support self-renewal of human myeloma cells

Blood Cancer J. 2013 Jun 7;3(6):e120. doi: 10.1038/bcj.2013.18.


In this study, we have identified the growth factors supporting myeloma self-renewal in eight myeloma cell lines. All cell lines able to form self-colonies displayed constitutive P-AKT and P-ERK1,2 but not P-STAT3 and did not express CD45, suggesting the presence of an insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF1) loop. We showed that a blocking anti-insulin-like growth factor 1 receptor (IGF1R) monoclonal antibody (mAb) inhibited colony formation in correlation with IGF1R expression and decreased P-AKT. Imatinib or a blocking anti-stem cell factor (SCF) mAb also inhibited colony formation of two cell lines expressing C-KIT and SCF, and decreased P-AKT. Moreover, the PI3K/AKT pathway inhibitor wortmannin inhibited colony formation. Blocking interleukin (IL)6R did not inhibit colony formation in good agreement with a lack of constitutive P-STAT3. We showed that primary cells frequently co-expressed IGF1R/IGF1 but not C-KIT/SCF or IL6R/IL6, suggesting that in vivo autonomous growth could be possible via IGF1R. Despite their similar role in clonogenic growth and shared signaling pathway, IGF1R and C-KIT had opposite prognostic values, suggesting that they were surrogate markers. Indeed, we showed that both C-KIT and IGF1R prognostic values were not independent of MMSET expression. This study highlights the autocrine role of IGF1 in myeloma cells and reinforces the interest in targeting IGF1R in IGFR1(+) CD45(+/-) patients, such as MMSET(+) patients.