Abnormalities involving the 14q32 region are recurrent chromosomal changes in plasma cell malignancies. Recent preliminary molecular analyses found IGH rearrangements in almost 100% of human myeloma cell lines and in 75% of patients. However, no systematic study analyzing the nature of the partner chromosomal regions have been reported thus far. To define the exact incidence of illegitimate IGH rearrangements and the respective incidence of partner genes cloned to date, we analyzed 141 patients with either multiple myeloma (MM, n = 127) or primary plasma cell leukemia (PCL, n = 14) using fluorescence in situ hybridization. The overall incidence of illegitimate recombinations was 57% (80 of 141 patients). Analysis of this incidence according to Durie and Salmon stage, patients' status, i.e., MM versus primary PCL and diagnosis versus relapse, immunoglobulin type and subtype, and β2-microglobulin value, did not show any correlation. To analyze the nature of the partner chromosomal region, we selected probes specific for the following genes: FGFR3 (4p16), MYC (8q24), CCND1 (11q13), MAF (16q23), and BCL2 (18q21). These probes, combined with differentially labeled 14q32 probes, were used for dual-color fluorescence in situ hybridization on interphase plasma cells. Among the 80 patients with illegitimate IGH rearrangement, we identified 23 IGH-CCND1 fusion cases [i.e., t(11;14)], 17 IGH-FGFR3 fusion cases [i.e., t(4;14)], 3 IGH-MYC fusion cases [i.e., t(8;14)], and only one IGH-MAF fusion case. No IGH-BCL2 fusion case was detected. In 37 of 80 patients, none of these partner genes was involved. Analysis of cases with specific translocations according to their bioclinical features at diagnosis did not show any correlation. This study demonstrated that CCND1 and FGFR3 genes are involved together in about 50% of MM and primary PCL patients with illegitimate IGH rearrangements.


This study is a collaborative work of the Intergroupe Francophone du Myélome and was supported by Programme Hospitalier de Recherche Clinique from the University Hospital of Nantes. J-Y. L. is a grant recipient of the Conseil Régional des Pays de Loire.

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