Chromosome 13 (Δ13) abnormalities are found in greater than 50% of patients with Multiple Myeloma (MM). MM is most commonly defined by chromosome 13 monosomy or 13q loss (85%). Interstitial deletions comprise the remaining 15%. Many studies have revealed that Δ13 in MM are associated with poor survival and reduced response to therapy. Genes mapping to chromosome 13 may be involved in pathogenesis and/or progression of the disease due to loss of function from gene mutation or from epigenetic effects such as haploinsufficiency. In this study, array-based comparative genomic hybridization coupled with microarray technology (aCGH) is used to detect gene copy number loss on chromosome 13 from nine MM patient samples. Whole genome long-oligo microarrays constructed by Agilent Technologies were used which contain 40,000 genes that span the human genome with an average spatial resolution of ~75 kb. Using genomic DNA isolated from MM patients with interstitial deletions on chromosome 13, DNA was amplified, labeled and hybridized with a differentially labeled normal DNA reference to determine gene/genomic copy number changes. Arrays were analyzed to search for the minimum region of loss based upon single copy loss for a series of nearby mapping transcripts. A common region of loss of 2.2 Mb, at 13q14.2 was detected. Additionally, we investigated the correlation between genomic copy number change and the expression level for MM patients in the13q region. From an independent gene expression data set whose expression measurements were conducted with Affymetrix HG-U133A v2 microarrays, data was selected that corresponded to the samples used for current aCGH. Expression values from MM samples were divided by the mean expression values from 12 normal bone marrow samples for each gene and the resulting values were treated as surrogate ratios between MM and normal samples. Probes from both microarrays were then aligned according to their chromosomal positions and merged if their chromosomal positions overlapped. Composite chromosomal maps were generated that displayed the expression levels and copy number changes. The maps were used to differentiate chromosomal regions in 13q where copy number changes and expression levels show high correlation and regions where such correlation was not observed. Although the number of probes sampled in the expression microarray was much smaller than those in aCGH microarray, a chromosomal region of great interest, that encompasses 13q14.2, arose naturally from this analysis. Although the mechanism by which loss of 13q effects tumorigenesis in MM could be a haploinsufficiency model, we are not ruling out the presence of a tumor suppressor gene in this region. We are evaluating candidate tumor suppressor genes in the region for loss of function by mutational analysis and hypermethylation studies.

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