Novel Immunotherapies

Cancer J. Nov-Dec 2009;15(6):502-10. doi: 10.1097/PPO.0b013e3181c51f0d.


Multiple myeloma is still a fatal disease. Despite advances in high-dose chemotherapy and stem-cell transplantation and the development of novel therapeutics, relapse of the underlying disease remains the primary cause of treatment failure. Strategies for posttransplantation immunomodulation are desirable for eradication of remaining tumor cells. To this end, immunotherapy aimed at inducing myeloma-specific immunity in patients has been explored. Idiotype protein, secreted by myeloma cells, has been the primary target for immunotherapy as it is the best defined tumor-specific antigen. This chapter focuses on novel immunotherapies that are being developed to treat patients with myeloma. I will discuss potential myeloma antigens, antigen-specific T cells, and their function on myeloma tumor cells, and T-cell-based and antibody-based immunotherapies for myeloma. Furthermore, clinical studies of T-cell-based immunotherapy in the form of vaccination, allogeneic stem-cell transplantation and donor lymphocyte infusions, with or without donor vaccination using patient-derived idiotype, and future application of donor-derived or patient-derived, antigen-specific T-cell infusion in this disease are also discussed. Based on the specificity of the immune effector molecules and cells, immunotherapies with specific T cells or therapeutic antibodies may represent novel strategies for the treatment of multiple myeloma in the near future.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antibodies, Monoclonal / therapeutic use
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal, Humanized
  • Antigens, Neoplasm / immunology
  • Cancer Vaccines / immunology
  • Cancer Vaccines / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulin Idiotypes / immunology
  • Immunotherapy / methods*
  • Immunotherapy / trends
  • Immunotherapy, Adoptive
  • Intercellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins / immunology
  • Lymphokines / immunology
  • Multiple Myeloma / drug therapy
  • Multiple Myeloma / immunology
  • Multiple Myeloma / therapy*
  • Receptors, Immunologic / immunology
  • Signaling Lymphocytic Activation Molecule Family
  • Stem Cell Transplantation
  • T-Lymphocytes, Cytotoxic / immunology
  • Transplantation, Homologous
  • Vaccines, DNA
  • beta 2-Microglobulin / immunology


  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal, Humanized
  • Antigens, Neoplasm
  • Cancer Vaccines
  • DKK1 protein, human
  • Immunoglobulin Idiotypes
  • Intercellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins
  • Lymphokines
  • Receptors, Immunologic
  • SLAMF7 protein, human
  • Signaling Lymphocytic Activation Molecule Family
  • Vaccines, DNA
  • antigen-specific helper factors
  • beta 2-Microglobulin
  • elotuzumab