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Blood. 1997 Nov 15;90(10):4062-70.

A novel chromosomal translocation t(4; 14)(p16.3; q32) in multiple myeloma involves the fibroblast growth-factor receptor 3 gene.

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  • 1Laboratorio di Ematologia Sperimentale e Genetica Molecolare, Servizio di Ematologia, Universit√† degli Studi di Milano, Ospedale Maggiore IRCCS, Milano, Italy.


Chromosomal translocations involving the immunoglobulin heavy chain (IGH) locus at chromosome 14q32 represent a common mechanism of oncogene activation in lymphoid malignancies. In multiple myeloma (MM), the most consistent chromosomal abnormality is the 14q+ marker, which originates in one third of cases through a t(11; 14)(q13; q32) chromosomal translocation; in the remaining cases, the identity of the partner chromosomes has not been well established. We used a Southern blot approach based on the linkage analysis of the joining (J) and the constant (C) mu, alpha, and gamma regions to detect cases bearing IGH switch-mediated chromosomal translocations. We evaluated DNA of 88 nonkaryotyped patients with MM (78 cases) or plasma cell leukemia (PCL) (10 cases) and found the presence of "illegitimate" rearranged IGH fragments (no comigration between the J and C regions) in 21 cases. To confirm this analysis, we cloned the illegitimate rearranged fragments from three samples, and the molecular and fluorescent in situ hybridization (FISH) analyses indicated the presence of chromosomal translocations juxtaposing a switch IGH region to sequences from chromosomes 11q13 (one PCL case) or 4p16.3 (two MM cases). Interestingly, the breakpoints on 4p16.3 occurred about 14 kb apart in a genomic region located approximately 50 kb centromeric to the fibroblast growth-factor receptor 3 (FGFR3) gene. Moreover, Southern blot analysis using 4p16.3 genomic probes detected a rearrangement in an additional MM tumor. FISH analysis of the MM-derived KMS-11 cell line, reported to be associated with a t(4; 14)(p16.3; q32), showed that the FGFR3 gene was translocated on 14q32. High levels of FGFR3 mRNA expression were observed in the cloned MM tumors and KMS-11 cell line, but not in the cases that were apparently negative for this lesion. Furthermore, a point mutation at codon 373 in the transmembrane domain of the FGFR3 gene resulting in an amino acid substitution (Tyr --> Cys) was detected in the KMS-11 cell line. These findings indicate that the t(4; 14)(p16.3; q32) represents a novel, recurrent chromosomal translocation in MM, and suggest that the FGFR3 gene may be the target of this abnormality and thus contribute to tumorigenesis in MM.

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