Abstract 3955

Small nucleolar RNAs (snoRNAs) and small Cajal body-specific RNAs (scaRNAs) are non-coding RNAs involved in the maturation of other RNA molecules and generally located in the introns of host genes. It is an emerging evidence that altered sno/scaRNAs expression may play a pathological role in cancer. Impaired sno/scaRNAs expression has recently been reported both in acute leukemia and smoldering myeloma that rapidly progressed to symptomatic disease. In addition, as regards multiple myeloma (MM), very recent data suggested an oncogenic role for SCARNA22 in those MM patients over-expressing SCARNA22/MMSET as a result of t(4;14) translocation. However, comprehensive information concerning the expression behavior of sno/scaRNAs in MM is still lacking.

This study elucidates the patterns of sno/scaRNAs expression in MM by profiling purified malignant plasma cells from 55 MMs, 8 secondary plasma cell leukemias (sPCL) and 4 normal controls using Human Gene 1.0 ST arrays.

Overall, a global sno/scaRNAs down-regulation was found in MMs and at more extent in sPCLs compared to normal plasma cells. Whereas SCARNA22 resulted the only sno/scaRNA characterizing the TC4 MM, TC2 group displayed a distinct sno/scaRNA signature overexpressing members of SNORD115 and SNORD116 families located in a region finely regulated by an imprinting center at 15q11 which, however, resulted overall hypomethylated in MMs independently of the SNORD115 and SNORD116 expression levels. In addition, impaired expression of sno/scaRNAs raised from the comparison between MM and sPCL, suggested a role in tumor progression. Furthermore, to uncover possible mechanisms at the basis of sno/scaRNAs deregulation, we investigated the correlation between sno/scaRNAs and the corresponding host-genes expression levels, outlining the coordinated expression of up to 50% of sno/scaRNAs/host-genes pairs. Finally, we investigated whether the sno/scaRNAs transcriptional pattern may be influenced by allelic imbalances involving their genomic location, as already demonstrated concerning mRNA expression, and revealed a dosage effect involving several chromosomal regions.

Our data extend the current view of sno/scaRNAs deregulation in cancer and add novel information into the bio-molecular complexity of plasma cell dyscrasias. Furthermore, our findings may contribute to develop functional approaches to examine the activity of deregulated sno/scaRNAs in MM, as well as to further enlighten their possible role as targets of novel therapeutic agents.


No relevant conflicts of interest to declare.

Author notes


Asterisk with author names denotes non-ASH members.