Chromosome 13 deletion (Δ13) is one the most common genetic abnormalities observed in multiple myeloma (MM) and confers a poor prognosis. Studies to identify critical tumor suppressor genes in MM till date have lack adequate resolution, and the molecular phenotype associated with Δ13 has not been established. In this study we seek to establish a molecular profile for Δ13 and to finely map the minimal common region of deletion (CDR) on chromosome 13 by using gene expression profiling (GEP) and array comparative genomic hybridization (aCGH). GEP was performed on RNA from purified plasma cells of 72 newly diagnosed MM and 50 human myeloma cell lines (HMCLs) using the Affymetrix U133A chip and U133plus chip (Affymetrix, Santa Clara, CA) respectively. Patients were assigned TC classes which correlates with underlying genetic subtypes. In addition, aCGH was performed on 79 MM samples (36 with GEP data) and 50 myeloma cell lines (HMCLs; 48 with GEP data) using a platform utilizing 60-mer oligonucleotides (Human Genome CGH 44B Oligo Microarrays, Agilent Technologies), which have a resolution of about 70Kb. Raw data was extracted using the Feature Extraction 8.1 and visualized using CGH Analytics 3.2 (Agilent Technologies). To define a signature that reflects the biological consequences of Δ13 and not its close association with some genetic subtypes of MM (example, t(4;14) and t(14;16)), we selected a training cohort consisting of cases belonging to D1, D2, 11q13 and none TC class such that cases with and without Δ13 are balanced for ploidy and TC classes (n=28). A 152-gene Δ13 signature was identified. Its specificity was confirmed by leave-one-out cross validation using the K-nearest neighbor (KNN) class prediction algorithm (predictive accuracy of 100% in the training cohort). It was subsequently validated in a validation cohort that includes t(4;14) and t(14;16) that were not use to derive this gene signature, maintaining a high predictive accuracy (88%). This gene-set may therefore reflect core transcriptional consequences of Δ13 and is enriched for genes involved in the cell cycle and apoptosis. Using aCGH, 20 patients have Δ13 (mostly whole chromosome) all involving the 13q14–q21 region. Of the 32 HMCLs with Δ13 (whole chromosome or interstitial), 22 have mono-allelic loss of RB1 whereas 4 had bi-allelic loss. Besides RB1, bi-allelic loss of several other genes in the 13q14–q21 region (CYSLTR2, CDADC1, ITM2B, PCDH9) was also observed. As the CDR is large and contains a number of genes, we utilized a set of criteria (bi-allelic loss in HMCLs, within 13q14–q21 CDR, gene expression significantly correlated with copy number, and loss could explain molecular phenotype) to narrow down the potential candidates. Only RB1 and ITM2B fulfilled these criteria. Furthermore, RB protein levels correlated well with mRNA levels and DNA copy suggesting that even in absence of mutations resulting in bi-allelic loss, mono-allelic loss of RB1 could be tumorigenic through a haploinsufficiency mechanism.

Disclosure: No relevant conflicts of interest to declare.

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