Multiple myeloma is characterised by clonal proliferation of malignant plasma cells, and mounting evidence indicates that the bone marrow microenvironment of tumour cells has a pivotal role in myeloma pathogenesis. This knowledge has already expanded treatment options for patients with multiple myeloma. Prototypic drugs thalidomide, bortezomib, and lenalidomide have each been approved for the treatment of this disease by targeting both multiple myeloma cells and the bone marrow microenvironment. Although benefit was first shown in relapsed and refractory disease, improved overall response, duration of response, and progression-free and overall survival can be achieved when these drugs are part of first-line regimens. This treatment framework promises to improve outcome not only for patients with multiple myeloma, but also with other haematological malignancies and solid tumours.