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Blood. 2001 Nov 15;98(10):3082-6.

Rearrangements of the c-myc oncogene are present in 15% of primary human multiple myeloma tumors.

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Hematology Laboratory, INSERM U463, and the Department of Clinical Hematology, University Hospital, Nantes, France.


Rearrangements of the c-myc oncogene have been found in most plasmacytomas induced in mice and human myeloma cell lines (HMCLs) analyzed so far. However, neither induced mouse plasmacytomas nor HMCLs represent relevant models for human multiple myeloma (MM). To evaluate the incidence of c-myc rearrangements in human plasma cell dyscrasias, sets of probes were generated to allow direct assessment of c-myc translocations on interphase plasma cells by using fluorescence in situ hybridization. After validation of these probes, a large cohort of patients with either newly diagnosed MM (n = 529), relapsed MM (n = 58), primary plasma cell leukemia (PCL; n = 23), monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance (n = 65), or smoldering MM (n = 24) were analyzed. C-myc rearrangements were identified in 15% of patients with MM or primary PCL, independently of the stage of the disease (ie, diagnosis or relapse and MM or primary PCL). Analysis of the 2 main translocations observed on karyotyping, ie, t(8;14) and t(8;22), revealed that these specific translocations represented only 25% (23 of 91) of c-myc rearrangements. c-myc rearrangements were then correlated with several other patients' characteristics: illegitimate IgH recombinations, chromosome 13 deletions, and serum beta2-microglobulin levels. The only significant correlation was with a high beta2-microglobulin level (P =.002), although a trend for association with t(4;14) was observed (P =.08). Thus, c-myc rearrangement analysis in patients with MM revealed a strikingly lower incidence than that in HMCLs and plasmacytomas induced in mice, indicating that data obtained with these models cannot be directly extrapolated to human MM.

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