Oncolytic immunotherapy and bortezomib synergy improves survival of refractory multiple myeloma in a preclinical model

Chandini M. Thirukkumaran, Zhong Qiao Shi, Gerard J. Nuovo, Joanne Luider, Karen A. Kopciuk, Yuan Dong, Ahmed A. Mostafa, Satbir Thakur, Kathy Gratton, Ailian Yang, Alex C. Chin, Matt C. Coffey, Victor H. Jimenez-Zepeda, Douglas Stewart, Marta Chesi, P. Leif Bergsagel and Don Morris

Key Points

  • RV and BTZ synergize to reduce immune suppression and drug resistance of MM.

  • BTZ triggers viral replication in the tumor microenvironment enhancing anticancer cytotoxic and immune modulatory signals.


The oncolytic reovirus (RV) has demonstrated clinical efficacy and minimal toxicity in a variety of cancers, including multiple myeloma (MM). MM is a malignancy of plasma cells that is considered treatable but incurable because of the 90% relapse rate that is primarily from drug resistance. The systemic nature of MM and the antitumor immunosuppression by its tumor microenvironment presents an ongoing therapeutic challenge. In the present study, we demonstrate that RV synergizes with the standard-of-care MM drug bortezomib (BTZ) and, importantly, enhances its therapeutic potential in therapy-resistant human MM cell lines in vitro. Using the syngeneic Vk*MYC BTZ-resistant immunocompetent transplantable MM murine model, we also demonstrate that mice harboring BTZ-insensitive MM tumors respond to the RV/BTZ combination treatment in terms of decreased tumor burden and improved overall survival (P < .00001). We demonstrate that BTZ augments RV replication in tumor-associated endothelial cells and myeloma cells, leading to enhanced viral delivery and thereby stimulating cytokine release, immune activity, apoptosis, and reduction of the MM-associated immune suppression. We conclude that combined RV/BTZ is an attractive therapeutic strategy with no safety signals for the treatment of MM.

  • Submitted September 3, 2018.
  • Accepted January 14, 2019.
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