Hematologic Malignancies: Plasma Cell Disorders

Madhav V. Dhodapkar, Ivan Borrello, Adam D. Cohen, Edward A. Stadtmauer

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Multiple myeloma (MM) is a plasma cell malignancy characterized by the growth of tumor cells in the bone marrow. Properties of the tumor microenvironment provide both potential tumor-promoting and tumor-restricting properties. Targeting underlying immune triggers for evolution of tumors as well as direct attack of malignant plasma cells is an emerging focus of therapy for MM. The monoclonal antibodies daratumumab and elotuzumab, which target the plasma cell surface proteins CD38 and SLAMF7/CS1, respectively, particularly when used in combination with immunomodulatory agents and proteasome inhibitors, have resulted in high response rates and improved survival for patients with relapsed and refractory MM. A number of other monoclonal antibodies are in various stages of clinical development, including those targeting MM cell surface antigens, the bone marrow microenvironment, and immune effector T cells such as antiprogrammed cell death protein 1 antibodies. Bispecific preparations seek to simultaneously target MM cells and activate endogenous T cells to enhance efficacy. Cellular immunotherapy seeks to overcome the limitations of the endogenous antimyeloma immune response through adoptive transfer of immune effector cells with MM specificity. Allogeneic donor lymphocyte infusion can be effective but can cause graft-versus-host disease. The most promising approach appears to be genetically modified cellular therapy, in which T cells are given novel antigen specificity through expression of transgenic T-cell receptors (TCRs) or chimeric antigen receptors (CARs). CAR T cells against several different targets are under investigation in MM. Infusion of CD19-targeted CAR T cells following salvage autologous stem cell transplantation (SCT) was safe and extended remission duration in a subset of patients with relapsed/refractory MM. CAR T cells targeting B-cell maturation antigen (BCMA) appear most promising, with dramatic remissions seen in patients with highly refractory disease in three ongoing trials. Responses are associated with degree of CAR T-cell expansion/persistence and often toxicity, including cytokine release syndrome (CRS) and neurotoxicity. Ongoing and future studies are exploring correlates of response, ways to mitigate toxicity, and "universal" CAR T cells.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)561-568
Number of pages8
JournalAmerican Society of Clinical Oncology educational book. American Society of Clinical Oncology. Annual Meeting
StatePublished - 2017
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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