Signaling interplay between bone marrow adipose tissue and multiple myeloma cells.

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Frontiers in endocrinology


In the year 2000, Hanahan and Weinberg (1) defined the six Hallmarks of Cancer as: self-sufficiency in growth signals, evasion of apoptosis, insensitivity to antigrowth mechanisms, tissue invasion and metastasis, limitless replicative potential, and sustained angiogenesis. Eleven years later, two new Hallmarks were added to the list (avoiding immune destruction and reprograming energy metabolism) and two new tumor characteristics (tumor-promoting inflammation and genome instability and mutation) (2). In multiple myeloma (MM), a destructive cancer of the plasma cell that grows predominantly in the bone marrow (BM), it is clear that all these hallmarks and characteristics are in play, contributing to tumor initiation, drug resistance, disease progression, and relapse. Bone marrow adipose tissue (BMAT) is a newly recognized contributor to MM oncogenesis and disease progression, potentially affecting MM cell metabolism, immune action, inflammation, and influences on angiogenesis. In this review, we discuss the confirmed and hypothetical contributions of BMAT to MM development and disease progression. BMAT has been understudied due to technical challenges and a previous lack of appreciation for the endocrine function of this tissue. In this review, we define the dynamic, responsive, metabolically active BM adipocyte. We then describe how BMAT influences MM in terms of: lipids/metabolism, hypoxia/angiogenesis, paracrine or endocrine signaling, and bone disease. We then discuss the connection between BMAT and systemic inflammation and potential treatments to inhibit the feedback loops between BM adipocytes and MM cells that support MM progression. We aim for researchers to use this review to guide and help prioritize their experiments to develop better treatments or a cure for cancers, such as MM, that associate with and may depend on BMAT.




Reagan Laboratory, Maine Medical Center Research Institute, Scarborough, ME.

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