Initiation and maintenance of multiple myeloma

J. R. Berenson, P. L. Bergsagel, N. Munshi

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19 Scopus citations


A recently identified herpesvirus, human herpesvirus-8 (HHV-8), also known as Kaposi's sarcoma (KS)-associated herpesvirus, has been found in nonmalignant bone marrow dendritic cells of patients with multiple myeloma. The virus is also detectable in the peripheral blood of most patients; its absence suggests earlier-stage disease. HHV-8 is not detected in the blood of family members and sexual partners of myeloma patients. Sequencing of HHV-8 open-reading frames (ORFs) shows differences between individual myeloma patients, as well as between myeloma patients and those with other HHV-8-related malignancies. Consistent expression of the viral homolog of both interferon regulatory factor (IRF) and interleukin-8 receptor (IL-8R) suggests a possible role for these transforming viral genes in the pathogenesis of myeloma. Detailed analysis of myeloma cell lines has shown that myeloma is characterized by frequent chromosome translocations involving the switch regions of the immunoglobulin heavy-chain (IgH) locus on 14q32. The three partner chromosomes most commonly involved are 11q13 (cyclin D1), 4p16 (FGFR3), and 16q23 (c-maf). Mutations have also been identified in N- and K-ras and, less frequently, involving p53. Monosomy 13q is common. These findings have implications for immunotherapy. Angiogenesis increases with progressive disease and appears to be a prognostic factor. In at least one patient, this process appears to have been reversed with thalidomide therapy. The underlying mechanisms for the increased vascularization in myeloma have not been identified, and several possibilities have been proposed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)9-13
Number of pages5
JournalSeminars in Hematology
Issue number1 SUPPL. 3
StatePublished - Feb 22 1999

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hematology


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