Multiple myeloma (MM) is a malignant plasma cell disorder with well-defined primary genetic/cytogenetic abnormalities. Investigating genetic heterogeneity in the MM cells, may have an impact on therapeutic approaches and assessment of response to treatment. Single cell genomic profiling technology provides an opportunity for us to identify genetic heterogeneity during the pathogenesis of MM progression and select the most appropriate clinical interventions. We performed single cell whole transcriptome analysis in 597 CD138 positive cells derived from 15 patients at different stages of MM progression. Using Coefficient of Variation (CV) approach, we identified 790 genes and defined four main groups reflective of increasing levels of aggressiveness at the single cell level. Differential gene expression and gene set enrichment analyses showed that protein homeostasis pathways, unfolded protein response and mTORC1 related gene sets were significantly enriched at the most aggressive level consistent with the MM cell progression and predicts the overall survival. Our results provide novel insights into the cellular heterogeneity within each MM patient and a foundation for therapeutic opportunities including proteasome inhibitors.

Citation Format: Jin Sung Jang. Molecular signature of multiple myeloma progression through single-cell RNA-seq [abstract]. In: Proceedings of the American Association for Cancer Research Annual Meeting 2018; 2018 Apr 14-18; Chicago, IL. Philadelphia (PA): AACR; Cancer Res 2018;78(13 Suppl):Abstract nr 4354.