Myeloma cell-induced disruption of bone remodelling compartments leads to osteolytic lesions and generation of osteoclast-myeloma hybrid cells

Br J Haematol. 2010 Feb;148(4):551-61. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2141.2009.07980.x. Epub 2009 Nov 16.


Osteolytic lesions are a hallmark of multiple myeloma. They are due to the hyperactivity of bone resorbing osteoclasts and hypoactivity of bone forming osteoblasts, in response to neighbouring myeloma cells. This study identified a structure that deeply affects this response, because of its impact on the physical organisation of the myeloma cell microenvironment. The proximity between myeloma cells and osteoclasts or osteoblasts was shown to be conditioned by the recently discovered layer of flat cells that separates the osteoclasts and osteoblasts from the bone marrow, by forming a canopy over bone remodelling compartment (BRC). These canopies are frequently disrupted in myeloma, and this disruption correlates with increased proximity and density of myeloma cells. In vitro evidence indicates that this disruption may be due to direct contact between myeloma and BRC canopy cells. Importantly, this disruption and increased proximity and density of myeloma cells coincides with key myeloma-induced bone events, such as osteolytic lesions, impaired bone formation despite increased bone resorption, and fusion of myeloma cells with osteoclasts thereby forming myeloma-osteoclast hybrid cells. These findings strongly support a critical role of BRC canopies in myeloma-induced bone disease. BRC canopies could therefore be considered as a new therapeutic target.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Biopsy
  • Bone Marrow Cells / pathology
  • Bone Marrow Cells / physiology
  • Bone Remodeling / physiology
  • Cell Communication / physiology
  • Cell Fusion
  • Coculture Techniques
  • Humans
  • Hybrid Cells / physiology
  • Multiple Myeloma / complications*
  • Multiple Myeloma / pathology
  • Osteoclasts / physiology*
  • Osteolysis / etiology*
  • Osteolysis / pathology