Multiple myeloma (MM) is a plasma cell (PC) malignancy characterised by the presence of MM PCs at multiple sites throughout the bone marrow. Increased numbers of peripheral blood MM PCs are associated with rapid disease progression, shorter time to relapse and are a feature of advanced disease. In this review, the current understanding of the process of MM PC dissemination and the extrinsic and intrinsic factors potentially driving it are addressed through analysis of patient-derived MM PCs and MM cell lines as well as mouse models of homing and dissemination. In addition, we discuss how patient cytogenetic subgroups that present with highly disseminated disease, such as t(4;14), t(14;16) and t(14;20), suggest that intrinsic properties of MM PC influence their ability to disseminate. Finally, we discuss the possibility of using therapeutic targeting of tumour dissemination to slow disease progression and prevent overt relapse.
- Multiple myeloma