Despite the development of several new agents for multiple myeloma (MM) therapy over the last decade, drug resistance continues to be a significant problem. Patients with relapsed/refractory disease have high mortality rates and desperately need new precision approaches that directly target specific molecular features that are prevalent in the refractory setting. Reolysin is a proprietary formulation of reovirus for cancer therapy that has demonstrated efficacy in multiple clinical trials. Its selective effects against solid tumors have been largely attributed to RAS-mediated control of reovirus replication. However, the mechanisms regulating its preferential anti-neoplastic effects in MM and other hematological malignancies have not been rigorously studied. Here we report that the reovirus receptor, junctional adhesion molecule-A (JAM-A) is highly expressed in primary cells from patients with MM and the majority of MM cell lines compared to normal controls. A series of experiments demonstrated that JAM-A expression, rather than RAS, was required for Reolysin-induced cell death in MM models. Notably, analysis of paired primary MM specimens revealed that JAM-A expression was significantly increased at relapse compared to diagnosis. Two different models of acquired resistance to bortezomib also displayed both higher JAM-A expression and elevated sensitivity to Reolysin compared to parental cells, suggesting that Reolysin may be an effective agent for patients with relapsed/refractory disease due to their high JAM-A levels. Taken together, these findings support further investigation of Reolysin for the treatment of patients with relapsed/refractory MM and of JAM-A as a predictive biomarker for sensitivity to Reolysin-induced cell death.
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