• c-Met;
  • multiple myeloma;
  • receptor tyrosine kinase;
  • proliferation;
  • intracellular signaling


Objectives:  Hepatocyte growth factor (HGF) is a constituent of the myeloma microenvironment and is elevated in sera from myeloma patients compared to healthy individuals. Increased levels of serum HGF predict a poor prognosis. It has previously been shown by us and others HGF can act as a growth factor to myeloma cells in vitro although these effects have been moderate. We therefore wanted to investigate if HGF could influence the effects of interleukin (IL)-6.

Methods:  Myeloma cell lines and primary samples were tested for the combined effects of IL-6 and HGF in inducing DNA synthesis and migration. Expression levels of c-Met protein were analysed by Western blotting and flow cytometry. Signaling pathways were examined by Western blotting using phosphospecific antibodies and a Ras-GTP pull down assay.

Results:  HGF potentiated IL-6-induced growth in human myeloma cell lines and in purified primary myeloma cells. There was also cooperation between HGF and IL-6 in induction of migration. There seemed to be two explanations for this synergy. IL-6-treatment increased the expression of c-Met making cells HGF responsive, and IL-6 was dependent on c-Met signaling in activating both Ras and p44/42 MAPK by a mechanism involving the tyrosine phosphatase Shp2.

Conclusions:  The results indicate that besides from being a myeloma growth factor alone, HGF can also potentiate the effects of IL-6 in myeloma proliferation and migration. Thus, c-Met signaling could be a target for therapy of multiple myeloma.