Multiple myeloma (MM) is a malignant plasma cell (PC) disorder, characterized by a complex interactive network of tumour cells and the bone marrow (BM) stromal microenvironment, contributing to MM cell survival, proliferation and chemoresistance. Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) represent the predominant stem cell population of the bone marrow stroma, capable of differentiating into multiple cell lineages, including fibroblasts, adipocytes, chondrocytes and osteoblasts. MSCs can migrate towards primary tumours and metastatic sites, implying that these cells might modulate tumour growth and metastasis. However, this issue remains controversial and is not well understood. Interestingly, several recent studies have shown functional abnormalities of MM patient-derived MSCs indicating that MSCs are not just by-standers in the BM microenvironment but rather active players in the pathophysiology of this disease. It appears that the complex interaction of MSCs and MM cells is critical for MM development and disease outcome. This review will focus on the current understanding of the biological role of MSCs in MM as well as the potential utility of MSC-based therapies in this malignancy.
- Multiple myeloma
- malignant plasma cell disorders
- tumour cells
- bone marrow
- Mesenchymal stem cells