Summary: Multiple myeloma (MM) is a B cell neoplasm characterized by the monoclonal proliferation of plasma cells in the bone marrow, the development of osteolytic lesions and the induction of angiogenesis. These different processes require three-dimensional interactions, with both humoral and cellular contacts. The 5TMM models are suitable models to study these interactions. These murine models originate from spontaneously developed myeloma in elderly mice, which are propagated by in vivo transfer of the myeloma cells into young syngeneic mice.
In this review we report on studies performed in the 5TMM models with special emphasis on the homing of the myeloma cells, the characterization of the migrating and proliferating clone and the identification of the isotype switch variants. The bone marrow microenvironment was further targeted with osteoprotegerin (OPG) to block the RANK/RANKL/OPG system and with potent bisphosphonates. Both treatments resulted in a significant protection against myeloma-associated bone disease, and they decreased myeloma disease, as evidenced by a lower tumor load and an increased survival of the mice. These different studies demonstrate the strength of these models, not only in unraveling basic biological processes but also in the testing of potentially new therapeutic targets.