Multiple Myeloma: New Insights and Therapeutic Approaches
Hematology ASH Education Program
This review discusses the evolution of novel diagnostic and treatment strategies for multiple myeloma based upon increased understanding of basic disease pathogenesis. Although myeloma has remained an incurable illness to date, these new developments will derive treatments to improve outcome and achieve eventual cure. In Section I, Dr. Kyle reviews the results of current therapy for multiple myeloma, including high dose therapy and stem cell transplantation which have proven to achieve improved
... to achieve improved response rates, event-free, and overall survival. Supportive therapy, such as erythropoietin to treat diseaserelated anemia, and methods of prophylaxis against infection, which both lessen toxicities of treatment and improve quality of life for patients, are also addressed. In Section II, Dr. Dalton with Drs. Landowski, Shain, Jove and Hazlehurst discusses mechanisms of drug resistance in myeloma, with emphasis on novel treatment approaches to prevent development of drug resistance and to overcome drug resistance. Laboratory studies delineating mechanisms whereby myeloma cells resist drug-induced apoptosis provide the framework for related treatment protocols for patients with refractory disease. In Section III, Dr. Berenson reviews the management of complications in bone, which occur in the majority of patients with myeloma and are the major cause of decreased quality of life. New insights into the mediators of bone resorption and new bone formation in the marrow milieu have already derived effective bisphosphonate therapy. These drugs not only reduce bone complications and related pain, thereby improving quality of life, but also may have intrinsic anti-tumor activity by virtue of inducing tumor cell adherence to marrow, reducing interleukin-6 secretion, inducing tumor cell apoptosis, or inhibiting angiogenesis. In the last section, Dr. Anderson explores the potential for future therapies which offer great promise to improve patient outcomes. First, drugs which alter the marrow microenvironment include thalidomide and its derivative immunomodulatory drugs, which act directly on tumor cells to induce apoptosis or G1 growth arrest, alter tumor cell adhesion to marrow stroma, inhibit angiogenesis, and trigger a cellular anti-tumor response. The proteasome inhibitors both act directly on tumor cells and also inhibit the transcription factor NF Bdependent upregulation of IL-6 secretion triggered by tumor cell adhesion. Second, delineation of both growth and apoptotic pathways has derived novel treatment strategies. Third, the preclinical basis and early clinical trial results using vaccination and adoptive immunotherapy to harness autoimmune and alloimmune anti-myeloma responses are presented. This review sets the stage for an evolving new biologically based treatment paradigm in myeloma targeting both the tumor and its microenvironment to improve outcome and achieve eventual cure.