Extravasation and homing mechanisms in multiple myeloma.

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Multiple myeloma (MM) is a malignant B-cell disorder characterized by a monoclonal expansion of plasma cells (PC) in the bone marrow (BM). During the main course of disease evolution, MM cells depend on the BM microenvironment for their growth and survival. Reciprocal interactions between MM cells and the BM mediate not only MM cell growth, but also protect them against apoptosis and cause bone disease and angiogenesis. A striking feature of MM represents the predominant localization and retention of MM cells in the BM. Although BM PC indeed represent the main neoplastic cell type, small numbers of MM cells can also be detected in the peripheral blood circulation. It can be assumed that these circulating cells represent the tumour-spreading component of the disease. This implicates that MM cells have the capacity to (re)circulate, to extravasate and to migrate to the BM (homing). In analogy to the migration and homing of normal leucocytes, the BM homing of MM cells is mediated by a multistep process of extravasation with adhesion to the endothelium, invasion of the subendothelial basement membrane, followed by further migration within the stroma, mediated by chemotactic factors. At the end stage of disease, MM cells are thought to develop autocrine growth supporting loops that enable them to survive and proliferate in the absence of the BM microenvironment and to become stroma-independent. In this stage, the number of circulating cells increases and growth at extramedullary sites can occur, associated with alteration in adhesion molecule and chemokine receptor expression. This review summarizes the recent progress in the study of the extravasation and homing mechanisms of MM cells.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)325-334
Number of pages10
JournalClin Exp Metastasis
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 19 Oct 2007


  • myeloma
  • homing

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