H-MM affects about 40–50% of patients, and a similar proportion of MGUS/SMM. The genetic evolution of the disease and the clinical implications of the co-existence of 13q- or t(14q32) are unknown. We conducted a global survey of genetic abnormalities in H-MM in order to describe genetic evolution pathways. H-MM cases from the Mitelman cancer genetic database were combined with cases from the Mayo Clinic MM genetic database. All abnormalities (regional/whole chromosome gains/losses, breakpoints and translocations) were plotted against a 344-chromosome band profile created in a matrix format, and the number of genetic abnormalities per tumor (NAPT) logged. The abnormalities present in more than 5% of tumors were considered recurrent and each karyotype was scored for the presence or absence of each of the recurrent abnormalities. To investigate the temporal pattern of acquisition of genetic abnormalities, all tumors with a given abnormality were selected and the distributions of NAPT plotted. The modes of these distributions were used as a value of ‘lateness’, referred to as time of occurrence (TO). The impact of co-existence of 13q- and t(14q32) on progression free survival (PFS) and overall survival (OS) in H-MM was determined for MM patients entered into an Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group chemotherapy trial. Four hundred and sixty-nine H-MM patients were included in the karyotypic analysis. The median chromosome number was 53 (range 48–74) and the median NAPT was 10 (range 1–25). The distribution of NAPT revealed a normal distribution, suggesting an obligatory acquisition of a given number of genetic abnormalities. The most common abnormalities were trisomies of chromosomes 3,5,7,9,11,15,19 and 21 affecting a third or more of the patients. Deletions and abnormalities of even-numbered chromosomes occur in 20% or less of patients. None of the more than 300 specific translocations detected were recurrent. However, 5 translocation breakpoints were recurrent including 14q32, 8q24 and 11q13. TO analysis suggest that for H-MM, the trisomies are early genetic events, translocations occur midway and deletions tend to be later events. Amongst the trisomies, correlation analysis does not suggest a particular order of acquisition. Clustering analysis using principal component analysis suggests that in H-MM, IgH translocations are secondary events associated with disease evolution rather than defining unique biological entities. Consistent with this, survival of H-MM patients is not affected by 13q- status but is negatively impacted by the presence of t(14q32) especially those with unknown partners (p<0.05). The data presented suggest that H-MM fit a proposed aneuploid model of cancer due to auto-catalytic chromosome reassortment (

Duesberg et al
Cell Cycle
). The presence of tumor specific trisomies and the apparent similar phenotype induced by various combinations of trisomies are consistent with this model.

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