Osteocytes, the most abundant cells in the bone, orchestrate the function of osteoblasts and osteocytes to control physiological bone homeostasis. Accumulating evidence demonstrates that alteration of osteocyte function underlies the pathophysiology of several skeletal disorders, and that therapeutic targeting of factors produced by these cells improves skeletal health. Despite the advances in the knowledge of osteocyte biology, the contribution of these cells to the damaging effects of cancer in bone is practically unknown. Multiple myeloma is a plasma cell malignancy characterized by the presence of skeletal lesions and severe bone pain. Recent findings suggest that myeloma cells educate osteocytes to generate a microenvironment that is conducive to tumor progression, skeletal destruction, and bone pain. This review features some of these investigations and discusses the potential of targeting osteocytic pathways and osteocyte messengers for the treatment of multiple myeloma.
- Notch signaling
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
- Orthopedics and Sports Medicine