Myeloma Could Potentially Be Caused by a Benign Condition

Approximately 1 in 100 patients with MGUS develop myeloma.

Researchers in a recent study found that a common and symptomless condition called MGUS can develop into myeloma.

“It is now clear that the bone marrow of patients with MGUS, traditionally thought of as a benign condition, is significantly different to that of healthy individual,” said researcher Daniel Tennant, PhD. “The bone marrow environment in these patients appears capable of supporting cancer growth, even though the majority of patients will not progress to myeloma.”

MGUS causes changes in bone marrow needed for myeloma development. Myeloma is almost always caused by MGUS, and approximately 1 in 100 patients go on to develop myeloma.

Researchers discovered that early in MGUS development, bone marrow connective tissue cells become supportive of cancer growth. They also found that PADI2 is overactive in these cells, leading to an overproduction of interleukin-6 (IL-6), according to the study published by Leukemia.

These cells then release IL-6 in bone marrow, which then binds to receptors on cancer cells and causes them to proliferate. High levels of IL-6 are known to reduce the efficacy of the drug bortezomib.

Researchers said they believe drugs targeting the PADI2 genes could potentially reduce the amount of IL-6, and could lead to increase the efficacy of bortezomib. Drugs targeting the PADI2 gene could also lead to treatments for other types of cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, Alzheimer’s disease, and various autoimmune diseases.

“While this research is in the early stages, it offers the exciting possibility that early intervention could potentially delay or even prevent cancer development,” Dr Tennant concluded.