Abstract: Multiple myeloma (MM) is a hematological malignancy of plasma cells that proliferate and accumulate within the bone marrow (BM). Work from many groups has made evident that the complex microenvironment of the BM plays a crucial role in myeloma progression and response to therapeutic agents. Within the cellular components of the BM, we will specifically focus on mesenchymal stromal cells (MSCs), which are known to interact with myeloma cells and the other components of the BM through cell to cell, soluble factors and, as more recently evidenced, through extracellular vesicles. Multiple structural and functional abnormalities have been found when characterizing MSCs derived from myeloma patients (MM-MSCs) and comparing them to those from healthy donors (HD-MSCs). Other studies have identified differences in genomic, mRNA, microRNA, histone modification, and DNA methylation profiles. We discuss these distinctive features shaping MM-MSCs and propose a model for the transition from HD-MSCs to MM-MSCs as a consequence of the interaction with myeloma cells. Finally, we review the contribution of MM-MSCs to several aspects of myeloma pathology, specifically to myeloma growth and survival, drug resistance, dissemination and homing, myeloma bone disease, and the induction of a pro-inflammatory and immunosuppressive microenvironment.
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