Adult T-cell leukemia/lymphoma (ATL) develops in a subset of patients infected with the HTLV-1 virus. Most ATL patients become refractory to chemotherapy and have a median survival time of 6 months. Although uncommon in hematologic malignancies, 80% of ATL patients develop osteolytic lesions and hypercalcemia of malignancy. Bone resident and metastatic tumors release paracrine factors that modulate the bone microenvironment to facilitate disease progression and decrease survival. HTLV-1 encodes 2 viral oncogenes, Tax and Hbz. Tax is critical to ATL development and regulates tumor growth and proliferation in part through trans-activation of NFκB and CREB. We have previously shown Tax expression driven by the Granzymbe B promoter is sufficient for the development of leukemia/lymphoma with osteolytic lesions and hypercalcemia. We and others have shown that Tax alters the expression of paracrine factors that modulate the bone microenvironment through effects on bone forming osteoblasts (OB) and bone resorping osteoclasts (OC). Tax is expressed in early lymphocyte transformation with low expression in advanced ATL. HBZ is expressed early in lymphocyte transformation and throughout ATL progression. We hypothesize that in ATL cells, HTLV-1 viral oncogenes Tax and Hbz cooperate to modulate bone metabolism in a paracrine manner to enhance ATL tumor growth and progression. Mice with Granzyme B driven Hbz expression (T and NK cells) develop leukemia/lymphoproliferative disease in lymph nodes correlating with increased spleen weight. We found that lymphoproliferative disease is also present in the bone marrow. Hbz mice have decreased trabecular bone at 18 months by microCT and radiographic analysis. These data suggest Hbz can alter bone metabolism. Future studies will define the effects of Hbz on bone formation, OB and OC specific effects and tumor progression. Understanding HTLV-1 oncogene modulation of the bone microenvironment will uncover critical pathways in tumor/bone cross talk enabling the development of novel targeted therapies for ATL patients.

Citation Format: Alison Esser, Dan Rauch, Jingyu Xiang, John Harding, Nicole Kohart, Patrick Green, Stefan Niewiesk, Thomas Rosol, Lee Ratner, Katherine Weilbaecher. HTLV-1 viral oncogene Hbz induces leukemia with osteolytic bone involvement in mice. [abstract]. In: Proceedings of the 107th Annual Meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research; 2016 Apr 16-20; New Orleans, LA. Philadelphia (PA): AACR; Cancer Res 2016;76(14 Suppl):Abstract nr 3285.