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Cytometry B Clin Cytom. 2010 Sep;78(5):338-47. doi: 10.1002/cyto.b.20523. Epub 2010 Apr 28.

Multiparametric flow cytometry profiling of neoplastic plasma cells in multiple myeloma.

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Department of Haematology, Medical Center and Aalborg Hospital Science and Innovation Center (AHSIC), Aarhus University Hospital, Aalborg, Denmark.



The clinical impact of multiparametric flow cytometry (MFC) in multiple myeloma (MM) is still unclear and under evaluation. Further progress relies on multiparametric profiling of the neoplastic plasma cell (PC) compartment to provide an accurate image of the stage of differentiation. The primary aim of this study was to perform global analysis of CD expression on the PC compartment and subsequently to evaluate the prognostic impact. Secondary aims were to study the diagnostic and predictive impact.


The design included a retrospective analysis of MFC data generated from diagnostic bone marrow (BM) samples of 109 Nordic patients included in clinical trials within NMSG. Whole marrow were analyzed by MFC for identification of end-stage CD45(-) /CD38(++) neoplastic PC and registered the relative numbers of events and mean fluorescence intensity (MFI) staining for CD19, CD20, CD27, CD28, CD38, CD44, CD45, CD56, and isotypes for cluster analysis.


The median MFC-PC number was 15%, and the median light microscopy (LM)-PC number was 35%. However, the numbers were significant correlated and the prognostic value with an increased relative risk (95% CI) of 3.1 (1.7-5.5) and 2.9 (1.4-6.2), P < 0.0003 and P < 0.004 of MFC-PC and LM-PC counts, respectively. Unsupervised clustering based on global MFI assessment on PC revealed two clusters based on CD expression profiling. Cluster I with high intensity for CD56, CD38, CD45, right-angle light-scatter signal (SSC), forward-angle light-scatter signal (FSC), and low for CD28, CD19, and a Cluster II, with low intensity of CD56, CD38, CD45, SSC, FSC, and high for CD28, CD19 with a median survival of 39 months and 19 months, respectively (P = 0.02).


The MFC analysis of MM BM samples produces diagnostic, prognostic, and predictive information useful in clinical practice, which will be prospectively validated within the European Myeloma Network (EMN). © 2010 International Clinical Cytometry Society.

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