Myeloma is an incurable malignancy, and excessive bone destruction is a major cause of morbidity in myeloma patients. However, the biologic mechanisms involved in the pathogenesis of myeloma-induced bone disease are poorly understood. Heparanase, an enzyme that cleaves the heparan sulfate chains of proteoglycans, is upregulated in a variety of human tumors, including myeloma. I have previously demonstrated that heparanase promotes robust myeloma tumor growth and supports spontaneous metastasis to bone. In addition, I have recently made the striking discovery that the expression of heparanase by myeloma tumor cells is a major determinant of the osteolytic phenotype where it potently promotes both local and systemic osteolysis. The goal of this project is to determine how heparanase promotes myeloma-induced bone disease and to determine the potential of heparanase inhibition for the treatment of myeloma bone disease. The formation and function of bone resorbing osteoclasts is activated by Receptor Activator of NF-?B Ligand (RANKL) and inhibited by osteoprotegerin (OPG). Activated osteoclasts secrete matrix metalloproteinase-9 (MMP-9), degrading bone tissue. I and my colleagues have found, for the first time, that heparanase significantly elevates the expression of RANKL, MMP-9, and transcription factor Runx2 in myeloma cells. In addition, heparanase increases RANKL and decreases OPG expression in osteoblast precursors. Here I hypothesize that heparanase drives myeloma osteolysis by increasing the expression and secretion of RANKL and MMP-9 in myeloma cells via the upregulation of Runx2. I further postulate that heparanase modulates osteoblast precursors to enhance their role as osteoclast- support cells. Thus, myeloma bone disease can be ameliorated by the inhibition of heparanase. To test this novel hypothesis, Aims 1 and 2 will focus on how heparanase promotes myeloma bone destruction by affecting myeloma cells and osteoblasts/stromal cells.
Aim 3 will investigate whether inhibiting heparanase can protect bone from myeloma-induced bone disease. This project will determine the role of heparanase in promoting the osteolytic bone destruction characteristic of myeloma and provide further insight into the use of heparanase inhibitors as treatment for myeloma and other osteolytic tumors.

Public Health Relevance

In normal bone homeostasis, bone tissue is destroyed and rebuilt in such a way that bone mass is maintained. Sometimes, in people with cancer, this balance is disrupted?too much bone tissue is destroyed and not replaced, causing bone destruction. This project will show how one protein, called heparanase, causes bone destruction, resulting in cancer-associated bone loss and determine if inhibition of heparanase prevents cancer-induced bone destruction.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Cancer Institute (NCI)
Research Project (R01)
Project #
Application #
Study Section
Tumor Microenvironment Study Section (TME)
Program Officer
Howcroft, Thomas K
Project Start
Project End
Budget Start
Budget End
Support Year
Fiscal Year
Total Cost
Indirect Cost
University of Alabama Birmingham
Schools of Medicine
United States
Zip Code
Gowda, Pramod S; Wildman, Benjamin J; Trotter, Timothy N et al. (2018) Runx2 Suppression by miR-342 and miR-363 Inhibits Multiple Myeloma Progression. Mol Cancer Res 16:1138-1148
Trotter, Timothy N; Gibson, Justin T; Sherpa, Tshering Lama et al. (2016) Adipocyte-Lineage Cells Support Growth and Dissemination of Multiple Myeloma in Bone. Am J Pathol 186:3054-3063
Trotter, Timothy N; Yang, Yang (2016) Matricellular proteins as regulators of cancer metastasis to bone. Matrix Biol 52-54:301-314
Beauvais, DeannaLee M; Jung, Oisun; Yang, Yang et al. (2016) Syndecan-1 (CD138) Suppresses Apoptosis in Multiple Myeloma by Activating IGF1 Receptor: Prevention by SynstatinIGF1R Inhibits Tumor Growth. Cancer Res 76:4981-93
Lu, Ailing; Pallero, Manuel A; Lei, Weiqi et al. (2016) Inhibition of Transforming Growth Factor-? Activation Diminishes Tumor Progression and Osteolytic Bone Disease in Mouse Models of Multiple Myeloma. Am J Pathol 186:678-90
Li, Juan; Pan, Qianying; Rowan, Patrick D et al. (2016) Heparanase promotes myeloma progression by inducing mesenchymal features and motility of myeloma cells. Oncotarget 7:11299-309
Daft, Paul G; Yang, Yang; Napierala, Dobrawa et al. (2015) The growth and aggressive behavior of human osteosarcoma is regulated by a CaMKII-controlled autocrine VEGF signaling mechanism. PLoS One 10:e0121568
Trotter, Timothy N; Li, Mei; Pan, Qianying et al. (2015) Myeloma cell-derived Runx2 promotes myeloma progression in bone. Blood 125:3598-608
Adhami, Mitra D; Rashid, Harunur; Chen, Haiyan et al. (2015) Loss of Runx2 in committed osteoblasts impairs postnatal skeletogenesis. J Bone Miner Res 30:71-82
Ruan, Jian; Trotter, Timothy N; Nan, Li et al. (2013) Heparanase inhibits osteoblastogenesis and shifts bone marrow progenitor cell fate in myeloma bone disease. Bone 57:10-7

Showing the most recent 10 out of 12 publications