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Leukemia. 2018 Nov;32(11):2435-2444. doi: 10.1038/s41375-018-0108-y. Epub 2018 Mar 23.

Kinase domain activation through gene rearrangement in multiple myeloma.

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The Myeloma Institute, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, Little Rock, AR, USA.
Foundation Medicine Inc., Cambridge, MA, USA.
Albany Medical College, Albany, NY, USA.
Tufts University Medical Center, Boston, MA, USA.
The Myeloma Institute, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, Little Rock, AR, USA.


Chromosomal rearrangements that result in oncogenic kinase activation are present in many solid and hematological malignancies, but none have been reported in multiple myeloma (MM). Here we analyzed 1421 samples from 958 myeloma patients using a targeted assay and detected fusion genes in 1.5% of patients. These fusion genes were in-frame and the majority of them contained kinase domains from either receptor tyrosine kinases (ALK, ROS1, NTRK3, and FGFR1) or cytoplasmic kinases (BRAF, MAP3K14, and MAPK14), which would result in the activation of MEK/ERK, NF-κB, or inflammatory signaling pathways. Fusion genes were present in smoldering MM, newly diagnosed MM, and relapse patient samples indicating they are not solely late events. Most fusion genes were subclonal in nature, but one EML4-ALK fusion was clonal indicating it is a driver of disease pathogenesis. Samples with fusions of receptor tyrosine kinases were not found in conjunction with clonal Ras/Raf mutations indicating a parallel mechanism of MEK/ERK pathway activation. Fusion genes involving MAP3K14 (NIK), which regulates the NF-κB pathway, were detected as were t(14;17) rearrangements involving NIK in 2% of MM samples. Activation of kinases in myeloma through rearrangements presents an opportunity to use treatments existing in other cancers.

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