Epigenetic regulation and multiple myeloma: identification of potential targets.

Project Details


Multiple myeloma (MM) is an incurable plasma cell malignancy hallmarked by the accumulation of monoclonal plasma cells in the bone marrow (BM). MM accounts for 2% of all malignancies and is the second most commonly diagnosed hematological malignancy. In the BM, the normal cells and components provide signals to the MM cancer cells to survive, grow and escape drug-induced cell death. Although new drugs targeting these signals have demonstrated a significant improvement in the overall survival, patients inevitably relapse and develop refractory, non-responsive disease. As such, people nowadays agree that the cancer cells should be targeted from different angles at the same time and different drug combinations are now in trial which target both the MM cell itself and the surrounding BM cells and components.
Increasing evidence demonstrates that epigenetic changes play a major role in the pathogenesis of MM. Epigenetic changes regulated gene transcription and little mistakes in these changes can have a larger impact and lead to the development of cancer. Two of the most well known changes are (i) DNA methylation of cytosine bases within a CpG dinucleotide and (ii) post-translational (non)histone changes (e.g. acetylation, methylation, phosphorylation,...). In cancer and MM, mistakes in these epigenetic changes have been documented. Although these epigenetic changes are inheritable, they are reversible and represent interesting targets for therapy. Agents targeting these epigenetic changes have proven to possess potent anti-myeloma activity. However, it is unclear how the agents precisely work and affect the gene expression of the MM cancer cells in situ where the cells are protected by the BM microenvironment. This will be investigated in the present study. In parallel, we will investigate whether combining agents that target these two different epigenetic changes has increased therapeutic potential.
Effective start/end date1/01/1131/12/12


  • Stem Cell
  • Blood
  • Coagulation
  • Myeloma
  • Immunology
  • Microbiology
  • HLA
  • Hematology
  • Lymphoma
  • cancer
  • Bone Marrow Transplantation

Flemish discipline codes

  • Basic sciences
  • Biological sciences