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Gene profiling can single out the worst cases of multiple myeloma and guide therapy
Date:9/18/2007

ATLANTA Multiple myeloma patients vary widely in how they respond to treatment, but now researchers at the Myeloma Institute for Research and Therapy at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences have identified a small subset of genes whose activity could predict high-risk cases and potentially guide therapy in the future.

Researchers followed 532 multiple myeloma patients for seven years after blood stem cell transplant to create a genetic profile to chart the severity of the disease. The team determined that the activity of as few as 17 genes could mean the difference between high or low risk for a poor prognosis. They present their data today at the American Association for Cancer Researchs second International Conference on Molecular Diagnostics in Cancer Therapeutic Development, in Atlanta, Ga.

There are enormous differences between how different people fare with multiple myeloma. While most do very well others have a highly aggressive form of the disease and this is not recognized well with current prognostic variables, said lead researcher John D. Shaughnessy, Jr., Ph.D., a professor of medicine at the Myeloma Institute for Research and Therapy. If we can categorize a patients risk early, we can better guide that patient toward therapies that might be more effective for them based on the genetic profile of the disease.

Multiple myeloma is a cancer affecting the blood plasma cells in bone marrow that produce antibodies. Nearly 14,600 new cases of multiple myeloma occur each year in the United States. The disease is most often treated through the use of high dose chemotherapy and peripheral bloodderived stem cell support. While multiple myeloma often responds well to initial treatment, it often becomes drug resistant and patients are prone to relapse.

According to the researchers, survival varies greatly between low-risk and high-risk patients. At 24 months, about 90 percent of low-risk patients will be alive,
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Contact: Greg Lester
lester@aacr.org
267-646-0554
American Association for Cancer Research
Source:Eurekalert

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