Multiple myeloma (MM) is a plasma cell (PC) malignancy with an increasing incidence in the US. Epidemiological studies demonstrate a 2-3 fold higher incidence of the pre-malignant monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance (MGUS) and MM with a ~4-year younger age of onset among African Americans (AA) compared to European Americans (EAs) (Fonseca, Leukemia, 2017). With equal access to care, AAs have better overall survival compared to EAs (Waxman, Blood, 2010). This disparity may be explained by ancestral-associated genetic predisposition of AAs to development of monoclonal gammopathies and to specific acquired, cytogenetically-defined subtypes. Using calculated genetic ancestry data, we have previously identified a higher prevalence of IgH translocations t(11;14), t(14;16) and t(14;20) in individuals with >80% African ancestry (Baughn, BCJ, 2018). Since SNP rs9344 encoding the CCND1 870G>A polymorphism has been reported in association with increased risk of t(11;14) (Weinhold, Nature Genetics, 2013), we investigated whether rs9344 correlates with African ancestry and with t(11;14) in our cohort of patients with plasma cell dyscrasias.


We studied 898 patients with monoclonal gammopathies who had undergone uniform testing to identify MM-specific cytogenetic abnormalities. DNA from bone marrow samples was genotyped on the Precision Medicine Research Array and biogeographical ancestry was assessed using the Geographic Population Structure Origins tool (Elhaik, Nat Commun, 2014). Plasma cell proliferative disorder FISH of immunoglobulin (cIg)-stained positive plasma cells was performed as described (Baughn, BCJ, 2018). Individuals were divided into three ancestral groups: 1. EAs (<0.1% African ancestry and <30% Asian ancestry); 2. AAs (> 80% African ancestry); and 3. Other. Chi-squared test was used to determine the overall comparison between the 3 ancestral groups and also between ancestral groups 1 vs 2, and 2 vs 3 using pairwise comparison. All tests were two-sided with alpha level set at 0.05 for overall statistical significance. Pairwise comparison was considered statistically significant when p<0.025 based on Bonferroni method for multiple comparisons.


We identify increased risk of development of either a t(11;14), t(14;16) or t(14;20) in AAs (48.8%) compared to EAs (33.6%) (p-value=0.0051). To explore the genetic basis of increased t(11;14) specifically (37.4% AAs vs. 27.3% p-value=0.049), we evaluated the frequency of the G risk allele of rs9344 in relation to African ancestry. The frequency of the G risk allele was higher in AAs (0.81) compared to EAs (0.59) (p-value <0.0001) and also higher in t(11;14) cases (0.73) compared to non-t(11;14) controls (0.58) (p-value <0.0001). A multivariate model identified only rs9344 as significantly associated with t(11;14) after adjusting for age, gender and race group suggesting that it plays a role in the development of t(11;14) (p-value <0.001 for GG, p-value=0.005 for AG).

To test if these results are replicable, we studied the MMRF CoMMpass cohort. This cohort includes individuals with newly diagnosed MM along with self-report race information and translocation data from long insert whole genome sequencing. Although t(11;14) was not enriched in self-reported Black individuals from this cohort (17.5% Black vs. 20.4% White, p-value=0.47), there was association between the rs9344 and self-reported Black race (p-value <0.0001) and with the presence of t(11;14) when the t(11;14) was analyzed by long insert whole genome sequencing (p-value=0.0001).


To our knowledge, this study includes the largest group of African individuals with an abnormal plasma cell clone along with uniformly collected FISH, genotyping and ancestry data. We have identified in this diverse population the association of the CCND1 870G>A polymorphism (rs9344) with African ancestry and with t(11;14) suggesting that it plays a role in the development of t(11;14) plasma cell dyscrasias.


Elhaik:DNA Diagnostics Center: Consultancy. Baird:DNA Diagnostics Center: Employment. Cerhan:Janssen: Membership on an entity's Board of Directors or advisory committees; Celgene: Research Funding; NanoString: Research Funding. Bergsagel:Celgene: Consultancy; Ionis Pharmaceuticals: Consultancy; Janssen Pharmaceuticals: Consultancy. Dispenzieri:Alnylam: Research Funding; Akcea: Consultancy; Intellia: Consultancy; Janssen: Consultancy; Pfizer: Research Funding; Takeda: Research Funding; Celgene: Research Funding. Kumar:Janssen: Consultancy, Research Funding; Celgene: Consultancy, Research Funding; Takeda: Research Funding.

Author notes


Asterisk with author names denotes non-ASH members.

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