Mechanism of immunomodulatory drugs' action in the treatment of multiple myeloma

Acta Biochim Biophys Sin (Shanghai). 2014 Mar;46(3):240-53. doi: 10.1093/abbs/gmt142. Epub 2013 Dec 29.


Although immunomodulatory drugs (IMiDs), such as thalidomide, lenalidomide, and pomalidomide, are widely used in the treatment of multiple myeloma (MM), the molecular mechanism of IMiDs' action is largely unknown. In this review, we will summarize recent advances in the application of IMiDs in MM cancer treatment as well as their effects on immunomodulatory activities, anti-angiogenic activities, intervention of cell surface adhesion molecules between myeloma cells and bone marrow stromal cells, anti-inflammatory activities, anti-proliferation, pro-apoptotic effects, cell cycle arrest, and inhibition of cell migration and metastasis. In addition, the potential IMiDs' target protein, IMiDs' target protein's functional role, and the potential molecular mechanisms of IMiDs resistance will be discussed. We wish, by presentation of our naive discussion, that this review article will facilitate further investigation in these fields.

Keywords: E3 ubiquitin ligase; cancer treatment; cereblon; immunomodulatory drugs; multiple myeloma.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Apoptosis / drug effects*
  • Cell Cycle Checkpoints / drug effects
  • Cell Movement / drug effects
  • Cell Proliferation / drug effects*
  • Cytokines / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Immunologic Factors / therapeutic use*
  • Inflammation Mediators / metabolism
  • Models, Biological
  • Multiple Myeloma / drug therapy*
  • Multiple Myeloma / metabolism
  • Multiple Myeloma / pathology


  • Cytokines
  • Immunologic Factors
  • Inflammation Mediators