Abstract

Background: Thalidomide which represents an effective treatment strategy for relapsed/refractory multiple myeloma, actually represents a standard of care also for newly diagnosed multiple myeloma patients.

Methods: In the present study, we adopted a gene expression profiling (GEP) strategy in an attempt to predict response (> 50% reduction in serum M protein) to primary therapy with thalidomide-dexamethasone for newly diagnosed multiple myeloma. Plasma cells (CD138+) were purified from bone marrow aspirates from 17 patients at diagnosis, before initiation of treatment with thalidomide-dexamethasone. GEP was performed using the Affymetrix U133 Plus_2 microarray platform. The Affymetrix output (CEL files) was imported into Genespring 7.3 (Agilent technologies) microarray analysis software, where data files were normalized across chips using GCRMA and to the 50th percentile, followed by per gene normalization to median. Criteria of response were those established by Bladè et al.

Results: After sufficient follow-up, responders (n=9) and nonresponders (n=8) were identified, and gene expression differences in baselines samples were examined. Of the 11000 genes surveyed, Wilcoxon rank sum test identified 149 genes that distinguished response from non response. A multivariate step-wise discriminant analysis (MSDA) revealed that 14 of the 149 genes could be used in a response predictor model (see table). Of interest, the gene list encompasses WXSC1, known to be involved in the chromosomal translocation t(4;14) (p16.3;q32.3) in multiple myeloma.

Conclusion: These results could be the first step to adopt microfluidic cards, in an attempt to select at diagnosis patients who will respond favourably to a particular treatment strategy.

List of 14 genes able to predict response to primary therapy with thalidomide-dexamethasone for newly diagnosed multiple myeloma.

Gene IDGene NameChromosomal location
212771_at C10orf38 10p13 
229874_x_at LOC400741 1p36.13 
219690_at U2AF1L4 19q13.12 
202207_at ARL7 2q37.1 
243819_at GNG2 14q21 
203753_at TCF4 18q21.1 
235400_at FCRLM1 1q23.3 
211474_s_at SERPINB6 6p25 
226785_at ATP11C Xq27.1 
215440_s_at BEXL1 Xq22.1–q22.3 
209054_s_at WXSC1 4p16.3 
227168_at FLJ25967 22p12.1 
213355_at ST3GAL6 3q12.1 
223218_s_at NFKBIZ 3p12–q12 
Gene IDGene NameChromosomal location
212771_at C10orf38 10p13 
229874_x_at LOC400741 1p36.13 
219690_at U2AF1L4 19q13.12 
202207_at ARL7 2q37.1 
243819_at GNG2 14q21 
203753_at TCF4 18q21.1 
235400_at FCRLM1 1q23.3 
211474_s_at SERPINB6 6p25 
226785_at ATP11C Xq27.1 
215440_s_at BEXL1 Xq22.1–q22.3 
209054_s_at WXSC1 4p16.3 
227168_at FLJ25967 22p12.1 
213355_at ST3GAL6 3q12.1 
223218_s_at NFKBIZ 3p12–q12 

Author notes

Disclosure: No relevant conflicts of interest to declare.