Multiple myeloma bone disease is characterized by an uncoupling of bone remodeling in the multiple myeloma microenvironment, resulting in the development of lytic bone lesions. Most myeloma patients suffer from these bone lesions, which not only cause morbidity but also negatively impact survival. The development of novel therapies, ideally with a combined anti-resorptive and bone-anabolic effect, is of great interest because lesions persist with the current standard of care, even in patients in complete remission. We have previously shown that MELK plays a central role in proliferation-associated high-risk multiple myeloma and its inhibition with OTSSP167 resulted in decreased tumor load. MELK inhibition in bone cells has not yet been explored, although some reports suggest that factors downstream of MELK stimulate osteoclast activity and inhibit osteoblast activity, which makes MELK inhibition a promising therapeutic approach. Therefore, we assessed the effect of OTSSP167 on bone cell activity and the development of myeloma-induced bone disease. OTSSP167 inhibited osteoclast activity in vitro by decreasing progenitor viability as well as via a direct anti-resorptive effect on mature osteoclasts. In addition, OTSSP167 stimulated matrix deposition and mineralization by osteoblasts in vitro This combined anti-resorptive and osteoblast-stimulating effect of OTSSP167 resulted in the complete prevention of lytic lesions and bone loss in myeloma-bearing mice. Immunohistomorphometric analyses corroborated our in vitro findings. In conclusion, we show that OTSSP167 has a direct effect on myeloma-induced bone disease in addition to its anti-multiple myeloma effect, which warrants further clinical development of MELK inhibition in multiple myeloma.
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