Clearing soluble MIC reverses the impaired function of natural killer cells from patients with multiple myeloma

January, 01, 2024 | Select Oncology Journal Articles


Major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class I chain-related protein (MIC) is a stress-induced ligand released from multiple myeloma (MM) cells during progression, and soluble MIC impairs natural killer group 2D (NKG2D) activating receptor-mediated recognition and function of natural killer (NK) cells. However, whether clearing soluble MIC with a monoclonal antibody (mAb) can restore NK cell activity of MM patients remains undetermined.


We analyzed The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation (MMRF) CoMMpass data set to examine the prognostic significance of MIC expression in MM. We examined the level of soluble MIC in paired peripheral blood (PB) and bone marrow (BM) plasma of patients with MM at diagnosis by ELISA. We evaluated the correlation between the level of soluble MIC and immunophenotype of NK cells from MM patients by multicolor flow cytometry. We also generated MIC-overexpressing MM cell line and characterized the cytotoxic function of patient NK cells in the presence of soluble MIC, and examined the impact of clearing soluble MIC with a humanized mAb (huB10G5).


We characterize the importance of MICA in MM by revealing the significantly better overall survival of patients with high MICA expression from TCGA MMRF CoMMpass data set. The level of soluble MICA is more highly elevated in MM than in precursor stages, and the concentration of soluble MICA is higher in BM plasma than in PB. The concentration of soluble MICA in BM was correlated with myeloma burden, while it was negatively correlated with the frequency of NKG2D+ NK cells in diagnostic BM aspirates of MM patients. Soluble MICA downregulated NKG2D expression and decreased cytotoxicity of MM patient NK cells ex vivo, which were reversed by a humanized soluble MIC-clearing mAb (huB10G5) with enhanced degranulation of NK cells.


Our findings indicate targeting soluble MIC with huB10G5 might be a viable therapeutic approach to promote NKG2D-dependent cellular immunotherapy outcome in MM.

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