In the last decade, the novel agents lenalidomide, bortezomib, and thalidomide have dramatically improved outcomes for patients with multiple myeloma (MM). A number of new therapies with precise targets involved in MM cell growth and replication are now in development and have the potential for further improvements. Second-generation proteasome inhibitors and thalidomide derivatives may offer increased efficacy and safety. Investigational therapies with rationally selected targets in MM include inhibitors of histone deacetylase, heat shock protein 90, mammalian target of rapamycin, BCL2, Akt, mitogen-activated protein kinase, and telomerase. In addition, monoclonal antibodies directed against several targets have been developed and many are showing promise in initial clinical trials in MM. Interest in the ancient remedy of arsenic trioxide has been revived because of its proapoptotic effects on mitochondria, despite its established toxicities. In general, combination regimens are proving the most efficacious, which is to be expected given the multiple overlapping pathways responsible for MM growth and progression.
- multiple myeloma
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