Bone marrow microenvironment- induced regulation of Bcl-2 family members in multiple myeloma (MM): Therapeutic implications

Research output: Journal article (peer-reviewed)Journal article

1 Citation (Scopus)


In Multiple Myeloma (MM) the finely tuned homeostasis of the bone marrow (BM) microenvironment is disrupted. Evasion of programmed cell death (apoptosis) represents a hallmark of cancer. Besides genetic aberrations, the supportive and protective MM BM milieu, which is constituted by cytokines and growth factors, intercellular and cell: extracellular matrix (ECM) interactions and exosomes, in particular, plays a key role in the abundance of pro-survival members of the Bcl-2 family (i.e., Mcl-1, Bcl-2, and Bcl-xL) in tumor cells. Moreover, microenvironmental cues have also an impact on stability- regulating post-translational modifications of anti-apoptotic proteins including de/phosphorylation, polyubiquitination; on their intracellular binding affinities, and localization. Advances of our molecular knowledge on the escape of cancer cells from apoptosis have informed the development of a new class of small molecules that mimic the action of BH3-only proteins. Indeed, approaches to directly target anti-apoptotic Bcl-2 family members are among today's most promising therapeutic strategies and BH3-mimetics (i.e., venetoclax) are currently revolutionizing not only the treatment of CLL and AML, but also hold great therapeutic promise in MM. Furthermore, approaches that activate apoptotic pathways indirectly via modification of the tumor microenvironment have already entered clinical practice. The present review article will summarize our up-to-date knowledge on molecular mechanisms by which the MM BM microenvironment, cytokines, and growth factors in particular, mediates tumor cell evasion from apoptosis. Moreover, it will discuss some of the most promising science- derived therapeutic strategies to overcome Bcl-2- mediated tumor cell survival in order to further improve MM patient outcome.

Original languageEnglish
Article number156062
Pages (from-to)156062
Early online date1 Nov 2022
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2023


  • Apoptosis
  • Bone Marrow/metabolism
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Cytokines/metabolism
  • Family
  • Humans
  • Multiple Myeloma/metabolism
  • Myeloid Cell Leukemia Sequence 1 Protein/chemistry
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-bcl-2/metabolism
  • Tumor Microenvironment
  • bcl-X Protein/metabolism


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