Adipose, bone, and myeloma: contributions from the microenvironment.

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Calcified tissue international

MeSH Headings

Adipocytes, Bone Marrow, Bone and Bones, Humans, Multiple Myeloma, Tumor Microenvironment


Researchers globally are working towards finding a cure for multiple myeloma (MM), a destructive blood cancer diagnosed yearly in ~750,000 people worldwide (Podar et al. in Expert Opin Emerg Drugs 14:99-127, 2009). Although MM targets multiple organ systems, it is the devastating skeletal destruction experienced by over 90 % of patients that often most severely impacts patient morbidity, pain, and quality of life. Preventing bone disease is therefore a priority in MM treatment, and understanding how and why myeloma cells target the bone marrow (BM) is fundamental to this process. This review focuses on a key area of MM research: the contributions of the bone microenvironment to disease origins, progression, and drug resistance. We describe some of the key cell types in the BM niche: osteoclasts, osteoblasts, osteocytes, adipocytes, and mesenchymal stem cells. We then focus on how these key cellular players are, or could be, regulating a range of disease-related processes spanning MM growth, drug resistance, and bone disease (including osteolysis, fracture, and hypercalcemia). We summarize the literature regarding MM-bone cell and MM-adipocyte relationships and subsequent phenotypic changes or adaptations in MM cells, with the aim of providing a deeper understanding of how myeloma cells grow in the skeleton to cause bone destruction. We identify avenues and therapies that intervene in these networks to stop tumor growth and/or induce bone regeneration. Overall, we aim to illustrate how novel therapeutic target molecules, proteins, and cellular mediators may offer new avenues to attack this disease while reviewing currently utilized therapies.



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