By Jessica Langholtz
A recent study published in the journal Medical Oncology determined that the
cytokine M-CSF is highly predictive of survival in multiple myeloma patients. In
the study, researchers evaluated a diverse set of cytokines to determine their
usefulness as prognostic factors in multiple myeloma.
Cytokines are proteins secreted by immune cells to generate an immune
response. They are involved with allergic responses, inflammation, blood cell
development, and the development of multiple myeloma and other types of
Currently, the International
Staging System predicts the stage of disease progression and median survival
time for multiple myeloma based on a combination of serum beta-2 microglobulin
and albumin levels. Beta-2 microglobulin is a molecule commonly found on the
surface of cells; serum albumin is the most abundant protein in human blood
plasma. Elevated serum levels of beta-2 microglobulin and low serum levels of
albumin indicate increased disease severity and progression of myeloma (see
The study published in Medical Oncology evaluated the relationship between
the blood serum levels of various cytokines in 64 untreated myeloma patients and
the patients’ survival rates. Patients were followed up over a period of over
seven years. The serum beta-2 microglobulin level was increased in 40 percent of
patients, whereas the serum albumin level was low in 45 percent of patients.
Researchers observed a relationship between the cytokine M-CSF and patient
survival rates. Patients with normal M-CSF levels had a median survival time of
780 days, while patients with elevated M-CSF concentrations had a median
survival time of 155 days.
Most significantly, M-CSF more accurately predicted disease severity and
progression than beta-2 microglobulin, which is the established prognostic
factor for myeloma.
The authors of the study concluded that M-CSF is a powerful prognostic factor
for multiple myeloma and should be considered in novel therapeutic