In multiple myeloma, some of the neoplastic plasma cells are diffusely dispersed among the normal bone marrow cells (bone marrow resident), whereas others are located in discrete, well-vascularized solid tumors (plasmacytomas) that may originate in bone or soft tissue. Interactions between bone marrow-resident myeloma cells and bone marrow stromal cells (BMSCs) are important determinants of myeloma pathogenesis. However, little is known of the factors sustaining myeloma growth and cell viability at the centers of expanding plasmacytomas, where there are no BMSCs. Histologic sections of 22 plasmacytomas from myeloma patients were examined after immunostaining. Abundant CD68+, CD163+, S100-negative macrophage infiltrates were identified in all tumors, accompanied by scattered collections of CD3+ T lymphocytes. The CD68+ tumor-associated macrophages (TAM) accounted for 2-12% of nucleated cells and were evenly distributed through the parenchyma. The TAM generally had dendritic morphology, and each dendrite was in close contact with multiple plasma cells. In some cases, the TAM were strikingly clustered around CD34+ blood vessels. To determine whether cells of the monocytic lineage might be exploitable as carriers for delivery of therapeutic agents to plasmacytomas, primary human CD14+ cells were infected with oncolytic measles virus and administered intravenously to mice bearing KAS6/1 human myeloma xenografts. The cell carriers localized to KAS6/1 tumors, where they transferred MV infection to myeloma cells and prolonged the survival of mice bearing disseminated human myeloma disease. Thus, TAM are a universal stromal component of the plasmacytomas of myeloma patients and may offer a promising new target for therapeutic exploitation.
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