The emergence of new molecular targeting agents has improved the prognosis of patients with multiple myeloma (MM). However, MM remains incurable because MM stem cells are likely resistant to these agents. Thus, it is important to further investigate the biology of MM stem cells, which reside in the hypoxic bone marrow niche. In this study, we established and investigated the characteristics of ... [Show full abstract] hypoxia-adapted MM (HA-MM) cells, which could proliferate for more than six months under hypoxic conditions (1% O2). The G0 fraction of HA-MM cells was larger than that of parental MM cells under normoxic conditions (20% O2). HA-MM cells possess enhanced tumorigenicity in primary and secondary transplantation studies. HA-MM cells also exhibited increased mRNA levels of stem cell markers and an enhanced self-renewal ability, and thus demonstrated characteristics of MM stem cells. These cells overexpressed phosphorylated Smad2, and treatment with a transforming growth factor (TGF)-β/Smad signaling inhibitor decreased their clonogenicity in a replating assay. In conclusion, MM cells adapted to long-exposure of hypoxia exhibit stem cell characters with TGF-β/Smad pathway activation.