This article was originally published here
Front Immunol. 2021 Jun 2;12:667054. doi: 10.3389/fimmu.2021.667054. eCollection 2021.
Mouse models of human cancer provide an important research tool for elucidating the natural history of neoplastic growth and developing new treatment and prevention approaches. This is particularly true for multiple myeloma (MM), a common and largely incurable neoplasm of post-germinal center, immunoglobulin-producing B lymphocytes, called plasma cells, that reside in the hematopoietic bone marrow (BM) and cause osteolytic lesions and kidney failure among other forms of end-organ damage. The most widely used mouse models used to aid drug and immunotherapy development rely on in vivo propagation of human myeloma cells in immunodeficient hosts (xenografting) or myeloma-like mouse plasma cells in immunocompetent hosts (autografting). Both strategies have made and continue to make valuable contributions to preclinical myeloma, including immune research, yet are ill-suited for studies on tumor development (oncogenesis). Genetically engineered mouse models (GEMMs), such as the widely known Vκ*MYC, may overcome this shortcoming because plasma cell tumors (PCTs) develop de novo (spontaneously) in a highly predictable fashion and accurately recapitulate many hallmarks of human myeloma. Moreover, PCTs arise in an intact organism able to mount a complete innate and adaptive immune response and tumor development reproduces the natural course of human myelomagenesis, beginning with monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance (MGUS), progressing to smoldering myeloma (SMM), and eventually transitioning to frank neoplasia. Here we review the utility of transplantation-based and transgenic mouse models of human MM for research on immunopathology and -therapy of plasma cell malignancies, discuss strengths and weaknesses of different experimental approaches, and outline opportunities for closing knowledge gaps, improving the outcome of patients with myeloma, and working towards a cure.