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Human bone marrow permanently harbors high numbers of neutrophils, and a tumor-supportive bias of these cells could significantly impact bone marrow-confined malignancies. In individuals with multiple myeloma, the bone marrow is characterized by inflammatory stromal cells with the potential to influence neutrophils. We investigated myeloma-associated alterations in human marrow neutrophils and the impact of stromal inflammation on neutrophil function. Mature neutrophils in myeloma marrow are activated and tumor supportive and transcribe increased levels of IL1B and myeloma cell survival factor TNFSF13B (BAFF). Interactions with inflammatory stromal cells induce neutrophil activation, including BAFF secretion, in a STAT3-dependent manner, and once activated, neutrophils gain the ability to reciprocally induce stromal activation. After first-line myeloid-depleting antimyeloma treatment, human bone marrow retains residual stromal inflammation, and newly formed neutrophils are reactivated. Combined, we identify a neutrophil–stromal cell feed-forward loop driving tumor-supportive inflammation that persists after treatment and warrants novel strategies to target both stromal and immune microenvironments in multiple myeloma.

Original publication




Journal article


Nature immunology


Springer Nature

Publication Date



translational immunology, haematological cancer, tumour immunology, inflammation, neutrophils