Fetal stromal-dependent paracrine and intracrine vascular endothelial growth factor-a/vascular endothelial growth factor receptor-1 signaling promotes proliferation and motility of human primary myeloma cells.
Induction of neoangiogenesis plays an important role in the pathogenesis of multiple myeloma. However, the mechanism by which expression of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF)-A and its receptors modulate the interaction of multiple myeloma cells with stromal cells is not known. Here, we describe a novel in vitro coculture system using fetal bone stromal cells as a feeder layer, which facilitates the survival and growth of human primary multiple myeloma cells. We show that stromal-dependent paracrine VEGF-A signaling promotes proliferation of human primary multiple myeloma cells. Primary multiple myeloma cells only expressed functional VEGF receptor (VEGFR)-1, but not VEGFR-2 or VEGFR-3. VEGFR-1 expression was detected in the cytoplasm and the nuclei of proliferating multiple myeloma cells. Inhibition of VEGFR-1 abrogated multiple myeloma cell proliferation and motility, suggesting that the functional interaction of VEGF-A with its cognate receptor is essential for the growth of primary multiple myeloma cells. Collectively, our results suggest that stromal-dependent paracrine and intracrine VEGF-A/VEGFR-1 signaling contributes to human primary multiple myeloma cell growth and therefore, VEGFR-1 blockade is a potential therapeutic strategy for the treatment of multiple myeloma.