Breaking through Multiple Myeloma: A Paradigm for a Comprehensive Tumor Ecosystem Targeting
Multiple myeloma (MM) is a cancerous condition characterized by the proliferation of plasma cells within the hematopoietic marrow, resulting in multiple osteolytic lesions. MM patients typically experience bone pain, kidney damage, fatigue due to anemia, and infections. Historically, MM was an incurable disease with a life expectancy of around three years after diagnosis. However, over the past two decades, the development of novel therapeutics has significantly improved patient outcomes, including response to treatment, remission duration, quality of life, and overall survival. These advancements include thalidomide and its derivatives, lenalidomide and pomalidomide, which exhibit diverse mechanisms of action against the plasma cell clone. Additionally, proteasome inhibitors such as bortezomib, ixazomib, and carfilzomib disrupt protein degradation, proving specifically toxic to cancerous plasma cells. Recent advancements also involve monoclonal antibodies targeting surface antigens, such as elotuzumab (anti-CS1) and daratumumab (anti-CD38), bispecific t-cell engagers such as teclistamab (anti-BCMA/CD3) and Chimeric antigen receptor T (CAR-T)-based strategies, with a growing focus on drugs that exhibit increasingly targeted action against neoplastic plasma cells and relevant effects on the tumor microenvironment.