Characterization of the MM.1 human multiple myeloma (MM) cell lines: a model system to elucidate the characteristics, behavior, and signaling of steroid-sensitive and -resistant MM cells

Exp Hematol. 2003 Apr;31(4):271-82. doi: 10.1016/s0301-472x(03)00023-7.


Multiple myeloma (MM) is a clonal B-lymphocyte malignancy, which is characterized by the accumulation of terminally differentiated antibody-producing cells in the bone marrow. Because current treatments offer only a median survival of 3 years, investigators continue to search for novel therapeutic strategies to combat the disease. Rational drug design is enhanced by understanding MM cell proliferation and key signaling pathways employed. In addition, a model system for preclinical evaluation of novel therapeutics is critical. Our laboratory has developed MM cell lines to study drug action and resistance, cell proliferation, and apoptosis. These cell lines are widely used in MM research. From a single MM patient, three separate cell lines were established that parallel the progression of the disease. These three cell lines, designated MM1.S, MM1.R(E), and MM1.R(L), can be distinguished on the basis of their sensitivity to steroid hormones such as glucocorticoids (GCs). Utilization of these cell lines to study the etiology of MM, effects of chemotherapeutic agents, and development of clinical resistance, will provide us with vital information for the evolution of new and more efficacious therapeutics. The aim of this review is to summarize the morphological, biochemical, and growth characteristics of these cells, and to review the results from investigations of the MM.1 signaling pathways. This information will enhance the study, treatment, and eventual eradication of MM.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Apoptosis
  • Cell Division
  • Drug Resistance
  • Glucocorticoids / pharmacology
  • Humans
  • Multiple Myeloma* / chemistry
  • Multiple Myeloma* / genetics
  • Multiple Myeloma* / metabolism
  • Multiple Myeloma* / pathology
  • Receptors, Glucocorticoid / analysis
  • Receptors, Glucocorticoid / genetics
  • Signal Transduction*
  • Steroids / pharmacology*
  • Tumor Cells, Cultured*


  • Glucocorticoids
  • Receptors, Glucocorticoid
  • Steroids