UBC Faculty Research and Publications

Telomere Architecture Correlates with Aggressiveness in Multiple Myeloma Rangel-Pozzo, Aline; Yu, Pak Lok Ivan; LaL, Sadhana; Asbaghi, Yasmin; Sisdelli, Luiza; Tammur, Pille; Tamm, Anu; Punab, Mari; Klewes, Ludger; Louis, Sherif; Knecht, Hans; Olujohungbe, Adebayo; Mai, Sabine

Abstract

The prognosis of multiple myeloma (MM), an incurable B-cell malignancy, has significantly improved through the introduction of novel therapeutic modalities. Myeloma prognosis is essentially determined by cytogenetics, both at diagnosis and at disease progression. However, for a large cohort of patients, cytogenetic analysis is not always available. In addition, myeloma patients with favorable cytogenetics can display an aggressive clinical course. Therefore, it is necessary to develop additional prognostic and predictive markers for this disease to allow for patient risk stratification and personalized clinical decision-making. Genomic instability is a prominent characteristic in MM, and we have previously shown that the three-dimensional (3D) nuclear organization of telomeres is a marker of both genomic instability and genetic heterogeneity in myeloma. In this study, we compared in a longitudinal prospective study blindly the 3D telomeric profiles from bone marrow samples of 214 initially treatment-naïve patients with either monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance (MGUS), smoldering multiple myeloma (SMM), or MM, with a minimum follow-up of 5 years. Here, we report distinctive 3D telomeric profiles correlating with disease aggressiveness and patient response to treatment in MM patients, and also distinctive 3D telomeric profiles for disease progression in smoldering multiple myeloma patients. In particular, lower average intensity (telomere length, below 13,500 arbitrary units) and increased number of telomere aggregates are associated with shorter survival and could be used as a prognostic factor to identify high-risk SMM and MM patients.

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