Myeloma Bone Disease: A Comprehensive Review

Int J Mol Sci. 2021 Jun 8;22(12):6208. doi: 10.3390/ijms22126208.


Multiple myeloma (MM) is a neoplastic clonal proliferation of plasma cells in the bone marrow microenvironment, characterized by overproduction of heavy- and light-chain monoclonal proteins (M-protein). These proteins are mainly found in the serum and/or urine. Reduction in normal gammaglobulins (immunoparesis) leads to an increased risk of infection. The primary site of origin is the bone marrow for nearly all patients affected by MM with disseminated marrow involvement in most cases. MM is known to involve bones and result in myeloma bone disease. Osteolytic lesions are seen in 80% of patients with MM which are complicated frequently by skeletal-related events (SRE) such as hypercalcemia, bone pain, pathological fractures, vertebral collapse, and spinal cord compression. These deteriorate the patient's quality of life and affect the overall survival of the patient. The underlying pathogenesis of myeloma bone disease involves uncoupling of the bone remodeling processes. Interaction of myeloma cells with the bone marrow microenvironment promotes the release of many biochemical markers including osteoclast activating factors and osteoblast inhibitory factors. Elevated levels of osteoclast activating factors such as RANK/RANKL/OPG, MIP-1-α., TNF-α, IL-3, IL-6, and IL-11 increase bone resorption by osteoclast stimulation, differentiation, and maturation, whereas osteoblast inhibitory factors such as the Wnt/DKK1 pathway, secreted frizzle related protein-2, and runt-related transcription factor 2 inhibit osteoblast differentiation and formation leading to decreased bone formation. These biochemical factors also help in development and utilization of appropriate anti-myeloma treatments in myeloma patients. This review article summarizes the pathophysiology and the recent developments of abnormal bone remodeling in MM, while reviewing various approved and potential treatments for myeloma bone disease.

Keywords: bone disease; multiple myeloma; therapies.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bone Diseases / etiology
  • Bone Diseases / pathology*
  • Humans
  • Multiple Myeloma / complications*