Multiple myeloma (MM) is a progressive disease that is thought to result from multiple genetic insults to the precursor plasma cell that ultimately affords the tumor cell with proliferative potential despite its differentiated phenotype and resistance to undergoing apoptosis. Altered expression of antiapoptotic factors as well as growth factors have been described in a significant number of patients. However, the key regulatory elements that control myeloma development and progression remain largely undefined. Because of the knowledge that B-lymphocyte stimulator (BLyS), a tumor necrosis factor (TNF) family member shown to be critical for maintenance of normal B-cell development and homeostasis, promotes the survival of malignant B cells, we began a coordinated study of BLyS and its receptors in MM. All MM cells studied expressed one or more of 3 known receptors (B-cell maturation antigen [BCMA], transmembrane activator and CAML interactor [TACI], and B-cell activating factor receptor [BAFF-R]) for BLyS; however, the pattern of expression was variable. Additionally, we provide evidence that BLyS can modulate the proliferative capacity and survival of MM cells. Finally, we provide evidence that BLyS is expressed by MM cells and is present in the bone marrow of patients with MM. Expression of BCMA, TACI, and BAFF-R by MM taken together with the ability of BLyS to support MM cell growth and survival has exciting implications because they may be potential therapeutic targets.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cell Biology