Glucocorticoids in multiple myeloma: past, present, and future

  • Nicholas Burwick
  • Sanjai Sharma
Review Article


Glucocorticoids are a backbone of treatment for multiple myeloma in both the upfront and relapsed/refractory setting. While glucocorticoids have single agent activity in multiple myeloma, in the modern era, they are paired with novel agents to induce high clinical response rates. On the other hand, toxicities of steroid therapy limit high dose delivery and impact patient quality of life. We provide a history of steroid use in multiple myeloma with the aim to understand how steroids have emerged and persisted in the treatment of multiple myeloma. We review mechanisms of glucocorticoid sensitivity and resistance and highlight potential future directions to evaluate steroid responsiveness. Further research in this area will aid in optimizing steroid utilization and help determine when glucocorticoid therapy may no longer benefit patients.


Multiple myeloma Glucocorticoids Dexamethasone Apoptosis Drug resistance 


Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© This is a U.S. Government work and not under copyright protection in the US; foreign copyright protection may apply 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.VA Puget Sound Health Care SystemSeattleUSA
  2. 2.Department of MedicineUniversity of WashingtonSeattleUSA
  3. 3.Sequoia Regional Cancer CenterVisaliaUSA

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