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Hematol Oncol Clin North Am. 1999 Dec;13(6):1117-25.

The role of interleukin-1 beta in the pathogenesis of multiple myeloma.

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Division of Hematology and Internal Medicine, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota, USA.


Interleukin-1 beta has potent OAF activity, can increase the expression of adhesion molecules, and can induce paracrine IL-6 production (see Fig. 1). These biologic effects of IL-1 beta closely parallel several of the clinical features of human myeloma, such as osteolytic bone lesions, homing of myeloma cells to the bone marrow, and IL-6-induced cell growth. The increased production of adhesion molecules could explain why myeloma cells are found predominantly in the bone marrow. These fixed monoclonal plasma cells could subsequently stimulate osteoclasts through the production of IL-1 beta and paracrine generation of IL-6, resulting in osteolytic disease. Also, IL-6 produced by either a paracrine or autocrine mechanism can support the growth of the myeloma cells that may be manifested clinically by an elevated labeling index. In the future, continued follow-up of IL-1 beta-positive and IL-1 beta-negative MGUS patients should determine whether aberrant expression of IL-1 beta by monoclonal plasma cells is a critical genetic event in the progression of MGUS to myeloma. Because MGUS is relatively common in the general population and myeloma is incurable in almost all cases, identification of MGUS patients who are likely to progress to active myeloma will be important in the development of new therapeutic strategies. For example, an effective chemopreventive agent that prevents or delays the transition from MGUS to myeloma could have a major effect on the treatment of patients with monoclonal gammopathies.

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