Dramatic Shifts Occur in Immune System Before Multiple Myeloma Becomes Malignant Disease

Immune system cells and signal carriers amid the tumor cells undergoes dramatic shifts, with alterations in both the number and type of immune cells before multiple myeloma (MM) becomes a malignancy, according to a study published in Nature Cancer.

“Our results provide a comprehensive map of the immune changes that take place in pre-malignant myeloma,” said Irene Ghobrial, MD, of Dana-Farber, the Broad Institute, the co-senior author of the study with Gad Getz, PhD, of the Broad Institute and MGH in a press release. “The discovery that the immune microenvironment is abnormal even at very early stages of the disease may suggest strategies for targeting myeloma before it becomes malignant.”

 

“We wanted to understand the changes that occur in the microenvironment as the disease progresses from MGUS to SMM to overt myeloma, as compared to the bone marrow of healthy tissue donors,” said co-first author Oksana Zavidij, PhD, of Dana-Farber and the Broad Institute. “The approach could ultimately shed light on why some patients progress to myeloma while others don’t and help us better target treatments to individual patients.”