Osteosarcoma is the most common form of primary bone cancer. Over 20% of osteosarcoma patients present with pulmonary metastases at diagnosis, and nearly 70% of these patients fail to respond to treatment. Previous work revealed that human and canine osteosarcoma cell lines are extremely sensitive to the therapeutic proteasome inhibitor bortezomib in vitro. However, bortezomib has proven disappointingly ineffective against solid tumors including sarcomas in animal experiments and clinical trials. Poor tumor penetration has been speculated to account for the inconsistency between in vitro and in vivo responses of solid tumors to bortezomib. Here we show that the second-generation proteasome inhibitor ixazomib, which reportedly has enhanced solid tumor penetration compared to bortezomib, is toxic to human and canine osteosarcoma cells in vitro. We used experimental osteosarcoma metastasis models to compare the efficacies of ixazomib and bortezomib against primary tumors and metastases derived from luciferase-expressing KRIB or 143B human osteosarcoma cell lines in athymic mice. Neither proteasome inhibitor reduced the growth of primary intramuscular KRIB tumors, however both drugs inhibited the growth of established pulmonary metastases created via intravenous inoculation with KRIB cells, which were significantly better vascularized than the primary tumors. Only ixazomib slowed metastases from KRIB primary tumors and inhibited the growth of 143B pulmonary and abdominal metastases, significantly enhancing the survival of mice intravenously injected with 143B cells. Taken together, these results suggest ixazomib exerts better single agent activity against osteosarcoma metastases than bortezomib. These data provide hope that incorporation of ixazomib, or other proteasome inhibitors that penetrate efficiently into solid tumors, into current regimens may improve outcomes for patients diagnosed with metastatic osteosarcoma.
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