Preclinical validation of interleukin 6 as a therapeutic target in multiple myeloma
Studies on the biologic and molecular genetic underpinnings of multiple myeloma (MM) have identified the pleiotropic, pro-inflammatory cytokine, interleukin-6 (IL-6), as a factor crucial to the growth, proliferation and survival of myeloma cells. IL-6 is also a potent stimulator of osteoclastogenesis and a sculptor of the tumor microenvironment in the bone marrow of patients with myeloma. This knowledge has engendered considerable interest in targeting IL-6 for therapeutic purposes, using a variety of antibody- and small-molecule-based therapies. However, despite the early recognition of the importance of IL-6 for myeloma and the steady progress in our knowledge of IL-6 in normal and malignant development of plasma cells, additional efforts will be required to translate the promise of IL-6 as a target for new myeloma therapies into significant clinical benefits for patients with myeloma. This review summarizes published research on the role of IL-6 in myeloma development and describes ongoing efforts by the University of Iowa Myeloma Multidisciplinary Oncology Group to develop new approaches to the design and testing of IL-6-targeted therapies and preventions of MM.