Iron in multiple myeloma

Crit Rev Oncog. 2013;18(5):449-61. doi: 10.1615/critrevoncog.2013007934.


Multiple myeloma is a non-curable B-cell malignancy in which iron metabolism plays an important role. Patients with this disorder almost universally suffer from clinically significant anemia, which is often symptomatic, and which is due to impaired iron utilization. Recent studies have indicated that the proximal cause of dysregulated iron metabolism and anemia in these patients is cytokine-induced upregulation of hepcidin expression. Malignant myeloma cells are dependent on an increased influx of iron, and therapeutic efforts are being made to target this requirement. The studies detailing the characteristics and biochemical abnormalities in iron metabolism causing anemia and the initial attempts to target iron therapeutically are described in this review.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Anemia / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Hepcidins / physiology
  • Humans
  • Iron / metabolism*
  • Iron Chelating Agents / therapeutic use
  • Multiple Myeloma / drug therapy
  • Multiple Myeloma / metabolism*
  • Receptors, Transferrin / antagonists & inhibitors


  • Hepcidins
  • Iron Chelating Agents
  • Receptors, Transferrin
  • Iron