Novel Immunotherapies for Multiple Myeloma

Curr Hematol Malig Rep. 2017 Aug;12(4):344-357. doi: 10.1007/s11899-017-0397-7.


Purpose of review: The treatment landscape of multiple myeloma is rapidly changing; however, despite improvement in patients' survival, it still remains a largely incurable disease. One hallmark of myeloma is substantial immune dysfunction leading to an increased infection rate and the inability of immune surveillance to detect neoplastic cells. Here, we critically analyze clinical approaches to harness the immune system to overcome this defect with a focus on antibody based and adoptive cellular therapies.

Recent findings: Clinical trials exploring these immunotherapies to treat myeloma are now well underway and show promising results. In relapsed myeloma, monoclonal antibodies directed against plasma cell antigens and immune checkpoints have already shown substantial efficacy. In parallel, trials of adoptive cellular therapy have exciting promise in myeloma, having induced dramatic responses in a handful of early study participants. Taken together, immunotherapeutic approaches hold enormous potential in the field of multiple myeloma and in the near future can be combined with or even replace the current standard of care.

Keywords: BCMA; CAR T cell; CD38; Cellular therapy; Checkpoint blockade; PD-1.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal / immunology
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal / therapeutic use*
  • Antibody-Dependent Cell Cytotoxicity / drug effects
  • Antibody-Dependent Cell Cytotoxicity / immunology
  • Apoptosis / drug effects
  • Apoptosis / immunology
  • Humans
  • Immune System / drug effects*
  • Immune System / immunology
  • Immunotherapy / methods*
  • Molecular Targeted Therapy / methods
  • Multiple Myeloma / immunology
  • Multiple Myeloma / therapy*


  • Antibodies, Monoclonal