BACKGROUND: The development and preclinical testing of novel immunotherapy strategies for multiple myeloma can benefit substantially from a humanized animal model that enables quantitative real-time monitoring of tumor progression. Here we have explored the feasibility of establishing such a model in immunodeficient RAG2(-/-)gammac(-/-) mice, by utilizing non-invasive bioluminescent imaging for real-time monitoring of multiple myeloma cell growth.
DESIGN AND METHODS: Seven multiple myeloma cell lines, marked with a green fluorescent protein firefly luciferase fusion gene, were intravenously injected into RAG2(-/-)gammac(-/-) mice. Tumor localization and outgrowth was monitored by bioluminescent imaging. The sensitivity of this imaging technique was compared to that of free immumoglobulin light chain -based myeloma monitoring. Established tumors were treated with radiotherapy or with allogeneic peripheral blood mononuclear cell infusions to evaluate the application areas of the model.
RESULTS: Five out of seven tested multiple myeloma cell lines progressed as myeloma-like tumors predominantly in the bone marrow; the two other lines showed additional growth in soft tissues. In our model bioluminescent imaging appeared superior to free light chain-based monitoring and also allowed semi-quantitative monitoring of individual foci of multiple myeloma. Tumors treated with radiotherapy showed temporary regression. However, infusion of allogeneic peripheral blood mononuclear cells resulted in the development of xenogeneic graft-versus-host-disease and a powerful cell dose-dependent graft-versus-myeloma effect, resulting in complete eradication of tumors, depending on the in vitro immunogenicity of the inoculated multiple myeloma cells.
CONCLUSIONS: Our results indicate that this new model allows convenient and sensitive real-time monitoring of cellular approaches for immunotherapy of multiple myeloma-like tumors with different immunogenicities. This model, therefore, allows comprehensive preclinical evaluation of novel combination therapies for multiple myeloma.