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Immunomodulatory drugs and monoclonal antibody-based immunotherapies have significantly improved the prognosis of the patients with multiple myeloma (MM) in the recent years. These new classes of reagents target malignant plasma cells (PCs) and further modulate the immune microenvironment, which prolongs anti-MM responses and may prevent tumor occurrence. Since MM remains an incurable cancer for most patients, there continues to be a need to identify new tumor target molecules and investigate alternative cellular approaches using gene therapeutic strategies and novel treatment mechanisms. Osteoclasts (OCs), as critical multi-nucleated large cells responsible for bone destruction in >80% MM patients, have become an attractive cellular target for the development of novel MM immunotherapies. In MM, OCs are induced and activated by malignant PCs in a reciprocal manner, leading to osteolytic bone disease commonly associated with this malignancy. Significantly, bidirectional interactions between OCs and MM cells create a positive feedback loop to promote MM cell progression, increase angiogenesis, and inhibit immune surveillance both cell-cell contact and abnormal production of multiple cytokines/chemokines. Most recently, hyper-activated OCs have been associated with activation of programmed cell death protein 1 (PD-1)/programmed cell death ligand 1 (PD-L1) pathway, which impairs T cell proliferation and cytotoxicity against MM cells. Importantly, therapeutic anti-CD38 monoclonal antibodies and checkpoint inhibitors can alleviate OC-induced immune suppression. Furthermore, a proliferation-inducing ligand, abundantly secreted by OCs and OC precursors, significantly upregulates PD-L1 expression on MM cells, in addition to directly promoting MM cell proliferation and survival. Coupled with increased PD-L1 expression in other immune-suppressive cells, i.e., myeloid-derived suppressor cells and tumor-associated macrophages, these results strongly suggest that OCs contribute to the immunosuppressive MM BM microenvironment. Based on these findings and ongoing osteoimmunology studies, therapeutic interventions targeting OC number and function are under development to diminish both MM bone disease and related immune suppression. In this review, we discuss the classical and novel roles of OCs in the patho-immunology of MM. We also describe novel therapeutic strategies simultaneously targeting OCs and MM interactions, including PD-1/PD-L1 axis, to overcome the immune-suppressive microenvironment and improve patient outcome.
PMID: 30147691 [PubMed - in process]