Research Papers:

Neoplastic plasma cells generate an inflammatory environment within bone marrow and markedly alter the distribution of T cells between lymphoid compartments

Oliver C. Goodyear, Sarah Essex, Anandram Seetharam, Supratik Basu, Paul Moss _ and Guy Pratt

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Oncotarget. 2017; 8:30383-30394. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.16628

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Oliver C. Goodyear1, Sarah Essex1, Anandram Seetharam2, Supratik Basu2, Paul Moss1,3,*, Guy Pratt1,3,*

1Institute of Immunology and Immunotherapy, College of Medical and Dental Sciences, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, UK

2Department of Haematology, The Royal Wolverhampton Hospitals NHS Trust, Wolverhampton, UK

3Birmingham Health Partners, Centre for Clinical Haematology, University Hospital Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust, Birmingham, UK

*Joint senior authors

Correspondence to:

Paul Moss, email: [email protected]

Keywords: myeloma, chemokine

Received: September 06, 2016     Accepted: February 20, 2017     Published: March 28, 2017


Monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance (MGUS) and multiple myeloma (MM) are characterised by the accumulation of malignant plasma cells within bone marrow and lead to a range of abnormalities in the peripheral blood T cell repertoire. We investigated the level of inflammatory chemokines within the bone marrow and blood of patients with MGUS and MM and related this to the pattern of chemokine receptor expression on T cells in both compartments.

The expression of a wide range of chemokine ligands for CXCR3 and CCR4 was markedly increased within the bone marrow of patients with MGUS and MM compared to healthy donors. The most marked effects were seen for CCL4 and CXCL9 which were increased by 4 and 6 fold respectively in the bone marrow of patients with myeloma. The expression of CXCR3 and CCR4, the major TH1 and TH2-associated chemokine receptors, was increased substantially on T cells within the bone marrow of patients whereas the percentage of CXCR3-expressing T cells within blood was correspondingly decreased. The presence of even small numbers of neoplastic plasma cells or associated stroma can therefore generate an inflammatory chemokine tumour microenvironment. This leads to the selective recruitment or retention of specific T cell subsets which is likely to underlie many of the features regarding the peripheral T cell repertoire in myeloma and may also contribute to the immune suppression associated with this disease. This local inflammatory reaction may represent a tumour-specific immune response or may itself play an important role in tumour progression and as such may offers a potential novel target for therapeutic intervention.

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