, Volume 5, Issue 3, pp 141-153
Date: 10 Aug 2012

Emerging Therapies for Multiple Myeloma

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Abstract

Multiple myeloma (MM) is a malignancy of plasma cells within the bone marrow characterized by bone loss, renal disease, and immunodeficiency. Recent advances in the understanding of MM pathogenesis have improved established conventional cytotoxic therapy as well as transplantation regimens. Despite these advances, median overall survival is only 3–5 years. Therefore new therapies are urgently needed. Besides thalidomide, whose antimyeloma activity has only recently been defined, a plethora of novel agents, including the thalidomide-derived immunomodulatory drugs and bortezomib, have been identified to directly target the tumor cell or its microenvironment, and thereby inhibit MM cell growth and survival, and to overcome drug resistance. After validation of their preclinical anti-MM activity, several clinical trials are now ongoing to test the efficacy of these novel therapeutics, administered alone or in combination with conventional or other novel therapeutics and bone marrow transplantation. This article reviews the development of MM therapy, from its initial description approximately 150 years ago to the novel therapy regimens of recent years, highlighting that MM may soon become a chronic disease.