Adhesion to osteopontin in the bone marrow niche regulates lymphoblastic leukemia cell dormancy.
Malignant cells may evade death from cytotoxic agents if they are in a dormant state. The host microenvironment plays important roles in cancer progression, but how niches might control cancer cell dormancy is little understood. Here we show that osteopontin (OPN), an extracellular matrix molecule secreted by osteoblasts, can function to anchor leukemic blasts in anatomic locations supporting tumor dormancy. We demonstrate that acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) cells specifically adhere to OPN in vitro and secrete OPN when localized to the endosteal niche in vivo. Using intravital microscopy to perform imaging studies of the calvarial bone marrow (BM) of xenografted mice, we show that OPN is highly expressed adjacent to dormant tumor cells within the marrow. Inhibition of the OPN-signaling axis significantly increases the leukemic cell Ki-67 proliferative index and leads to a twofold increase in tumor burden in treated mice. Moreover, using cell-cycle-dependent Ara-C chemotherapy to produce minimal residual disease (MRD) in leukemic mice, we show that OPN neutralization synergizes with Ara-C to reduce detectable BM MRD. Taken together, these data suggest that ALL interacts with extracellular OPN within the malignant BM, and that this interaction induces cell cycle exit in leukemic blasts, protecting them from cytotoxic chemotherapy.
Boyerinas, B; Zafrir, M; Yesilkanal, AE; Price, TT; Hyjek, EM; Sipkins, DA
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