Osteolytic bone disease is pathognomonic of multiple myeloma (MM) and affects more than 80% of patients. Bone disease results in skeletal-related events (SRE) such as vertebral compression fractures, which may cause cord compression, hypercalcemia, pathologic fractures that require radiation or surgical fixation, and severe pain. All of these not only result in a negative impact on quality of life but also adversely impact overall survival. Osteolytic disease is a consequence of increased osteoclast (OC) activation along with osteoblast (OB) inhibition, resulting in altered bone remodeling. OC number and activity are increased in MM via cytokine deregulation within the bone marrow (BM) milieu, whereas negative regulators of OB differentiation suppress bone formation. Bisphosphonates are a well-established treatment of myeloma-related skeletal disease and are the current standard of care. However, complications arising from their long-term use have prompted studies of schedule optimization and alternate strategies. Several novel agents are currently under investigation for their positive effect on bone remodeling via OC inhibition. The identification of negative regulators of OB differentiation has prompted the use of anabolic agents. In addition to restoring bone remodeling, these drugs may inhibit tumor growth in vivo. Future studies will look to combine or sequence all of these agents with the goal of not only alleviating morbidity from bone disease but also capitalizing on the resultant antitumor activity.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research