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Blood. 2012 Jan 12;119(2):503-12. doi: 10.1182/blood-2011-07-367052. Epub 2011 Nov 9.

An intermediate-risk multiple myeloma subgroup is defined by sIL-6r: levels synergistically increase with incidence of SNP rs2228145 and 1q21 amplification.

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  • 1Myeloma Institute for Research and Therapy, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, Little Rock, USA.


IL-6 signaling can be enhanced through transsignaling by the soluble IL-6 receptor (sIL-6r), allowing for the pleiotropic cytokine to affect cells it would not ordinarily have an effect on. Serum levels of sIL-6r can be used as an independent prognostic indicator and further stratify the GEP 70-gene low-risk group to identify an intermediate-risk group in multiple myeloma (MM). By analyzing more than 600 MM patients with ELISA, genotyping, and gene expression profiling tools, we show how the combination of 2 independent molecular genetic events is related to synergistic increases in sIL-6r levels. We also show that the rs2228145 minor allele is related to increased expression levels of an IL-6r splice variant that purportedly codes exclusively for a sIL-6r isoform. Together, the SNP rs2228145 minor allele C and amplification of chromosome 1q21 are significantly correlated to an increase in sIL-6r levels, which are associated with lower overall survival in 70-gene low-risk disease, and aid in identification of the intermediate-risk MM group.

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