Multiple myeloma (MM) evolves from a premalignant condition known as monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance (MGUS). However, the factors underlying the malignant transformation of plasmocytes in MM are not fully characterized. We report here that Eµ-directed expression of the antiapoptotic Bcl-B protein in mice drives an MM phenotype that reproduces accurately the human disease. Indeed, with age, Eµ-bcl-b transgenic mice develop the characteristic features of human MM, including bone malignant plasma cell infiltration, a monoclonal immunoglobulin peak, immunoglobulin deposit in renal tubules, and highly characteristic bone lytic lesions. In addition, the tumors are serially transplantable in irradiated wild-type mice, underlying the tumoral origin of the disease. Eµ-bcl-b plasmocytes show increased expression of a panel of genes known to be dysregulated in human MM pathogenesis. Treatment of Eµ-bcl-b mice with drugs currently used to treat patients such as melphalan and VELCADE efficiently kills malignant plasmocytes in vivo. Finally, we find that Bcl-B is overexpressed in plasmocytes from MM patients but neither in MGUS patients nor in healthy individuals, suggesting that Bcl-B may drive MM. These findings suggest that Bcl-B could be an important factor in MM disease and pinpoint Eµ-bcl-b mice as a pertinent model to validate new therapies in MM.
- Submitted: 12 June 2015
- Accepted: 6 June 2016
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