[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Haematological toxicities and thromboembolic (TE) events are common complications of myeloma therapy. TE risk may be elevated with combination regimens, notably thalidomide/lenalidomide plus high-dose dexamethasone; concomitant erythropoietin appears to further increase the risk with lenalidomide-dexamethasone. We characterised thrombocytopenia and neutropenia in the phase 3 APEX (Assessment of Proteasome Inhibition for Extending Remissions) study of bortezomib versus high-dose dexamethasone in relapsed myeloma, and calculated the incidences of deep-vein thrombosis (DVT)/pulmonary embolism (PE) with: bortezomib or dexamethasone +/- erythropoietin in APEX; bortezomib +/- dexamethasone +/- erythropoietin in two phase 2 studies of relapsed/refractory myeloma. Bortezomib-associated thrombocytopenia and neutropenia were transient, predictable and manageable; mean platelet and neutrophil counts followed a cyclical pattern, and improved over the treatment course. Grade 3/4 thrombocytopenia incidence was higher with bortezomib versus dexamethasone (26%/4% vs. 5%/1%), but significant bleeding events were comparable (4% vs. 5%). DVT/PE incidence was low (< or =3.1%) in all analyses; addition of dexamethasone/erythropoietin did not affect TE risk. In APEX, TE risk appeared lower with bortezomib versus dexamethasone. Bortezomib caused transient and cyclical thrombocytopenia and was not associated with elevated TE risk, alone or with dexamethasone +/- erythropoietin. Preliminary data suggest bortezomib may reduce the thrombogenic potential of combination regimens via inhibition of platelet function or other mechanism-specific effects on coagulation.
British Journal of Haematology 08/2008; 143(2):222-9. · 4.94 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The human leukocyte antigen (HLA) system could play an essential role in multiple myeloma (MM) disease control. This report describes the results comparing HLA-DRB1 phenotypic frequencies in 181 MM patients (53 smoldering/indolent MM and 128 symptomatic MM patients) and healthy individuals. Higher DRB1*01 phenotypic frequencies were found in the smoldering patients compared with symptomatic MM patients (38% vs 14%, P = 0.001) and with the healthy individuals (38% vs 22%, P = 0.01). Additionally, higher DRB1*07 phenotypic frequencies were found in symptomatic MM compared with control population (38% vs 28%, P = 0.01). The present data suggest that HLA-DRB1*01 individuals may have a better ability to efficiently present myeloma-related antigens to immunocompetent cells, which could favor a better immune response against the tumor. This would translate into a more appropriate disease control associated with more indolent disease and prolonged survival.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The last decade has seen rapid evolution in the management of multiple myeloma. Cytogenetic, molecular, and proteomic techniques have led to a better understanding of the pathophysiology and prognostic markers of this heterogeneous malignancy. New immunomodulatory drugs, such as lenalidomide, which interrupt myeloma growth and survival pathways have entered into clinical usage. Combined with dexamethasone, oral lenalidomide has proved to be highly effective in patients whose disease has become resistant to conventional therapy. Currently, several clinical trials are ongoing in order to define the optimal use of this new agent and its combinations across the spectrum of patients with myeloma. Whether the ultimate outcome of future research will be a single-treatment solution for all patients, or whether treatments will become better-tailored to the individual (based on prognostic markers and pre-existing co-morbidities) has yet to be determined.
Cancer Treatment Reviews 06/2008; 34(3):283-91. · 6.02 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: RAN, ZHX2 and RCBTB2 (CHC1L) expression was evaluated by quantitative real time reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction in plasma cells from 85 monoclonal gammopathies: 58 symptomatic multiple myeloma (MM) (52 untreated, six relapsed), eight smouldering MM, five monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance, four plasma cell leukaemias and 10 myeloid cell lines. ZHX2 was weakly expressed in high-risk/proliferative disease compared to low-risk or indolent disease. High ZHX2 expression was associated with better response and longer survival after high-dose therapy. RCBTB2 expression was weaker in hyperdiploid versus non-hyperdiploid cases while RAN was more expressed in symptomatic MM and cell lines.
British Journal of Haematology 05/2008; 141(2):212-5. · 4.94 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We analyzed the presenting features and survival in 1689 patients with multiple myeloma aged younger than 50 years compared with 8860 patients 50 years of age and older. Of the total 10 549 patients, 7765 received conventional therapy and 2784 received high-dose therapy. Young patients were more frequently male, had more favorable features such as low International Staging System (ISS) and Durie-Salmon stage as well as less frequently adverse prognostic factors including high C-reactive protein (CRP), low hemoglobin, increased serum creatinine, and poor performance status. Survival was significantly longer in young patients (median, 5.2 years vs 3.7 years; P < .001) both after conventional (median, 4.5 years vs 3.3 years; P < .001) or high-dose therapy (median, 7.5 years vs 5.7 years; P = .04). The 10-year survival rate was 19% after conventional therapy and 43% after high-dose therapy in young patients, and 8% and 29%, respectively, in older patients. Multivariate analysis revealed age as an independent risk factor during conventional therapy, but not after autologous transplantation. A total of 5 of the 10 independent risk factors identified for conventional therapy were also relevant for autologous transplantation. After adjusting for normal mortality, lower ISS stage and other favorable prognostic features seem to account for the significantly longer survival of young patients with multiple myeloma with age remaining a risk factor during conventional therapy.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In 112 untreated myeloma patients we have analysed the immunophenotype of plasma cells both by immunofluorescence (IF) and immunocytochemistry (APAAP). Both techniques yielded similar results pointing to aH important degree of heterogeneity in antigenic expression not only between different patients but also within the same patient. The expression of CD38 and Han-PCl antigens (Ags) was almost constant (> 90% positive cases), while CD9 was detected in 66% of the cases. On the other hand, less than one third of patients were positive for CD 10, CD20 and HLA-DR and generally with a weak expression (< 30% positive plasma cells). In occasional cases plasma cells were weakly positive for the myelomonocytic markers CD13 (9%), CD15 (25%) and CD14 (6%). The possibility that this heterogeneity might be the result of different stages of differentiation of the neoplastic clone is suggested both by the positive correlation in the expression of some of these antigens (CD10, CD9, CD20, HLA-DR) and by the relationship between CD10 and myeloid antigens with immature plasma cell morphology. Finally, the cALLA antigen does not seem to be of significant value in predicting survival. Moreover, none of the other markers explored showed a clear influence in the course of the disease, although the tendency towards a lower survival found for the CD20+ cases as well as the association of the expression of some antigens and advanced clinical stage, may warrant further studies in a larger series of patients.
British Journal of Haematology 03/2008; 77(2):185 - 190. · 4.94 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In this study the incidence of DNA aneuploidy in a large series of untreated multiple myeloma (MM) patients was assessed in order to determine its clinical and prognostic significance. A total of 156 MM patients were included in the study. DNA measurements were performed in all cases at diagnosis using two different flow cytometry methods: (1) propidium iodide (PI) staining on isolated nuclei, and (2) CD38/PI double staining on whole cells. The DNA ploidy status was correlated with the most relevant clinical and haematological disease characteristics. From the 156 cases analysed, 91 (58%) were aneuploid (56% hyperdiploid and 2% hypodiploid). The correlation between the two techniques on the detection of DNA aneuploidy was excellent, although CD38/PI double staining would be preferable in cases with <5% of DNA aneuploid plasma cells (PC). Upon comparing the clinical and haematological disease characteristics of hyperdiploid versus diploid cases, the former group was characterized by a lower age, reduced incidence of anaemia, lower 02M levels, higher proliferative activity within the residual normal haemopoietic cells, increased expression of CD 5 6 antigen in PC, and higher proportion of PB CD4+ T cells. In contrast, diploid cases had a higher expression of the CD10, CD20 and CD15 antigens and greater numbers of PB CD56+CD3 NK cells (P < 0–05). Circulating PC were identified in six cases, all being diploid. Overall survival was significantly longer in hyperdiploid compared to diploid MM (P = 0–02).
British Journal of Haematology 03/2008; 90(1):106 - 112. · 4.94 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The field of multiple myeloma prognostication is replete with studies that have shown the value of independent predictors in determining clinical outcome. It is clear that host factors and factors intrinsic to the cells are the ultimate determinants of prognosis. In the immediate period after diagnosis, those factors related to the host are likely to be more relevant, whereas with passing time factors intrinsic to the cells predominate. At a minimum, we recommend that a comprehensive molecular cytogenetic assessment be performed at diagnosis, together with conventional evaluation, including beta2-microglobulin and albumin. In addition, information on proliferative activity of plasma cells may be of value. The introduction of novel methods of prognostication should be strongly considered in all clinical trials.
Hematology/Oncology Clinics of North America 01/2008; 21(6):1115-40, ix. · 2.08 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Multiple myeloma (MM) remains an incurable disease, and novel agents are therefore needed to improve outcome. Bortezomib is the first proteasome inhibitor to be approved by the US Food and Drug Administration and the European Agency for the Evaluation of Medicinal Products for the treatment of refractory/relapsed MM. Bortezomib has demonstrated significant anti-myeloma activity as a single agent in refractory/relapsed MM. When used in combination with other agents, responses have suggested the possibility of chemosensitization and synergy. All these facts have been the rationale for the use of bortezomib-based regimens as upfront treatment in young and elderly newly diagnosed MM patients. Furthermore, bortezomib does not appear to have an adverse effect on subsequent stem-cell collection. Bortezomib is well tolerated; most side-effects are only mild to moderate and manageable. Practical management of these side-effects is given so that they can be recognized and minimized by dose modification or concomitant therapy.
Bailliè re s Best Practice and Research in Clinical Haematology 01/2008; 20(4):701-15. · 2.81 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Initial analysis of the Assessment of Proteasome Inhibition for Extending Remissions (APEX) trial of relapsed multiple myeloma patients showed significantly longer time to progression, higher response rate, and improved survival with single-agent bortezomib versus high-dose dexamethasone. In this updated analysis (median follow-up: 22 months), survival was assessed in both arms, and efficacy updated for the bortezomib arm. Median survival was 29.8 months for bortezomib versus 23.7 months for dexamethasone, a 6-month benefit, despite substantial crossover from dexamethasone to bortezomib. Overall and complete response rates with bortezomib were 43% and 9%, respectively; among responding patients, 56% improved response with longer therapy beyond initial response, leading to continued improvement in overall quality of response. Higher response quality (100% M-protein reduction) was associated with longer response duration; response duration was not associated with time to response. These data confirm the activity of bortezomib and support extended treatment in relapsed multiple myeloma patients tolerating therapy.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Veno-occlusive disease of the liver (VOD) is a potentially severe complication of high-dose cytoreductive therapy (HDT) used for stem cell transplantation (SCT). This complication is uncommon after HDT for autologous SCT (ASCT) in patients with multiple myeloma (MM). The Spanish Myeloma Group/PETHEMA conducted a study (MM2000) for patients with newly diagnosed MM consisting of induction with alternating VBMCP/VBAD chemotherapy followed by intensification with busulfan/melphalan (Bu/MEL) with a second high-dose therapy procedure in patients not achieving at least near-complete remission with the first procedure. After 2 years of the trial, a number of episodes resembling classical VOD but with a late onset were recognized. Consequently, the protocol was modified, and Bu/MEL was replaced by melphalan 200 mg/m(2) (MEL-200). Three years later, after a total of 734 patients had undergone first autologous SCT, the incidence and characteristics of VOD episodes were analyzed in the whole series. Nineteen cases of VOD (8%) were observed among the first 240 patients receiving Bu/MEL, whereas only 2 (0.4%) were observed among the 494 patients treated with MEL-200 (P < .0001). VOD manifestations in the Bu/MEL group appeared at a median of 29 days (range, 3-57 days) after ASCT. Mortality directly attributable to VOD was 2% in the Bu/MEL group and 0.2% in the MEL-200 group (P = .026). This high incidence of severe VOD probably had a multifactorial origin (busulfan followed by melphalan and previous use of BCNU). This observation should be kept in mind when designing future trials for the treatment of MM.
Biology of Blood and Marrow Transplantation 12/2007; 13(12):1448-54. · 3.94 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: This is the first study in which bortezomib and dexamethasone were administered on an alternating basis as up-front therapy in multiple myeloma (MM). We investigated the efficacy and kinetics of response to each drug and safety.
Patients with newly diagnosed MM who were less than 66 years old were treated with bortezomib at 1.3 mg/m2 on days 1, 4, 8, and 11 (cycles 1, 3, and 5) and dexamethasone 40 mg orally on days 1 through 4, 9 to 12, and 17 to 20 (cycles 2, 4, and 6), followed by autologous stem-cell transplantation (ASCT). Responses were evaluated by modified European Bone Marrow Transplantation criteria. Random effects models were used to analyze the tumor response kinetics.
Forty patients were enrolled. Partial response (PR) or greater was 65% (12.5% complete response [CR], 10% very good PR [VGPR], and 42.5% PR) plus 17.5% minor response. Time to response was rapid, with 82% serum M-protein reduction achieved within the first two cycles. The M-protein decrease was similar with dexamethasone and with bortezomib (P = .48). Chromosome 13 deletion, t(4;14), and t(14;16) did not have a negative impact on response. Toxicity was low, with no grade 3 to 4 peripheral neuropathy and no grade 2 to 4 thrombocytopenia. The response rate after ASCT was 88%, with 33% CR (negative immunofixation) plus 22% VGPR.
Bortezomib alternating with dexamethasone is a highly effective induction regimen with low toxicity. The kinetic study has shown a high degree of heterogeneity in response and rapid effect from both agents, supporting the use of a short induction regimen before ASCT in MM.
Journal of Clinical Oncology 11/2007; 25(28):4452-8. · 18.04 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Multiple myeloma (MM) is a B-cell malignancy characterised by the accumulation of clonal plasma cells (PC) in the bone marrow (BM). The molecular bases for this incurable disease have been widely investigated in the last years, and the development of modern genomic technologies has contributed to the understanding of the pathogenesis of MM. The molecular mechanisms that explain the cellular origin of myeloma cells, the cytogenetic abnormalities and their clinical implications, and the biological information provided by gene expression profiling analysis are reviewed in this paper. In addition, a molecular classification of MM in seven groups based on the relationship between gene expression profiling, chromosomal translocations and prognostic outcome is also presented. And finally, the recent hypothesis of a potential unifying event in the pathogenesis of MM, supported by cyclin D deregulation in virtually all MM tumours, will be summarised.
Clinical and Translational Oncology 11/2007; 9(10):618-24. · 1.28 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Lenalidomide is a structural analogue of thalidomide with similar but more potent biologic activity. This phase 3, placebo-controlled trial investigated the efficacy of lenalidomide plus dexamethasone in the treatment of relapsed or refractory multiple myeloma.
Of 351 patients who had received at least one previous antimyeloma therapy, 176 were randomly assigned to receive 25 mg of oral lenalidomide and 175 to receive placebo on days 1 to 21 of a 28-day cycle. In addition, all patients received 40 mg of oral dexamethasone on days 1 to 4, 9 to 12, and 17 to 20 for the first four cycles and subsequently, after the fourth cycle, only on days 1 to 4. Patients continued in the study until the occurrence of disease progression or unacceptable toxic effects. The primary end point was time to progression.
The time to progression was significantly longer in the patients who received lenalidomide plus dexamethasone (lenalidomide group) than in those who received placebo plus dexamethasone (placebo group) (median, 11.3 months vs. 4.7 months; P<0.001). A complete or partial response occurred in 106 patients in the lenalidomide group (60.2%) and in 42 patients in the placebo group (24.0%, P<0.001), with a complete response in 15.9% and 3.4% of patients, respectively (P<0.001). Overall survival was significantly improved in the lenalidomide group (hazard ratio for death, 0.66; P=0.03). Grade 3 or 4 adverse events that occurred in more than 10% of patients in the lenalidomide group were neutropenia (29.5%, vs. 2.3% in the placebo group), thrombocytopenia (11.4% vs. 5.7%), and venous thromboembolism (11.4% vs. 4.6%).
Lenalidomide plus dexamethasone is more effective than high-dose dexamethasone alone in relapsed or refractory multiple myeloma. (ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT00424047 [ClinicalTrials.gov].).
New England Journal of Medicine 11/2007; 357(21):2123-32. · 51.66 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Damage to the stem cell progenitors caused by the chemotherapy received in patients diagnosed with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (NHL) may be an important factor limiting progenitor cell mobilization. The aim of the present analysis was to evaluate the effect of the chemotherapy on the different progenitor cell subpopulations obtained in the leukapheresis. For this purpose, a combination of immunophenotype and functional assays has been performed in 26 mobilized peripheral blood (PB) samples from NHL patients and 36 healthy donors. The different progenitor subpopulations analyzed by flow cytometry significantly correlated with the corresponding populations assessed by functional assays in both healthy donors and NHL patients (p<0.05, r>0.5). The number of committed CFU-GM was similar in both groups (p=0.246), but we found significant decrease in the number of BFU-E and more immature progenitors in PB from NHL patients as compared to donors (p<0.05). Moreover, the number of total CFU was significantly lower in NHL patients (p=0.007). Accordingly, CD34+ cells (p=0.018) and CD34+ subpopulations was decreased in NHL patients. Nevertheless, CD90 and CD34 intensity was significantly higher within CD34+ cells from NHL patients as compared to donors. However, although numerically reduced non-committed CD34+ cells are more immature in chemotherapy mobilized NHL patients. In summary, our results show that all NHL hematopoietic progenitors, analyzed by both immunophenotypical and functional approaches, are impaired in leukapheresis products.
Transfusion and Apheresis Science 10/2007; 37(2):145-56. · 1.23 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: This phase III international study compared the efficacy and safety of a combination of pegylated liposomal doxorubicin (PLD) plus bortezomib with bortezomib monotherapy in patients with relapsed or refractory multiple myeloma.
Six hundred forty-six patients were randomly assigned to receive either intravenous bortezomib 1.3 mg/m(2) on days 1, 4, 8, and 11 of an every 21-days cycle, or the same bortezomib regimen with PLD 30 mg/m(2) on day 4.
Median time to progression was increased from 6.5 months for bortezomib to 9.3 months with the PLD + bortezomib combination (P = .000004; hazard ratio, 1.82 [monotherapy v combination therapy]; 95% CI, 1.41 to 2.35). The 15-month survival rate for PLD + bortezomib was 76% compared with 65% for bortezomib alone (P = .03). The complete plus partial response rate was 41% for bortezomib and 44% for PLD + bortezomib, a difference that was not statistically significant. Median duration of response was increased from 7.0 to 10.2 months (P = .0008) with PLD + bortezomib. Grade 3/4 adverse events were more frequent in the combination group (80% v 64%), with safety profiles consistent with the known toxicities of the two agents. An increased incidence in the combination group was seen of grade 3/4 neutropenia, thrombocytopenia, asthenia, fatigue, diarrhea, and hand-foot syndrome.
PLD with bortezomib is superior to bortezomib monotherapy for the treatment of patients with relapsed or refractory multiple myeloma. The combination therapy is associated with a higher incidence of grade 3/4 myelosuppression, constitutional symptoms, and GI and dermatologic toxicities.
Journal of Clinical Oncology 10/2007; 25(25):3892-901. · 18.04 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Waldenström macroglobulinemia (WM) and monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance (MGUS) are IgM-related disorders in which monoclonal B cells harbor a unique clonotypic rearrangement of the immunoglobulin heavy chain gene (IgH). The aim of this study was to characterize IgH rearrangements in a larger series of IgM-related disorders than any previously described.
Seventy-two patients with monoclonal IgM disorders (64 with WM and eight with IgM-MGUS) were studied to amplify and sequence both VDJH and DJH rearrangements. Twenty-nine of them were also tested for the existence of class switch recombination (CSR).
VDJH and DJH rearrangements were detected in 91% and 42% of WM patients and in 100% and 13% of IgM-MGUS patients, respectively. In WM, the most frequently observed VH family and single segment were VH3 and VH3-23 (76% and 29%, respectively), with their frequencies differing markedly from those that would occur if the rearrangements were random. The VH3-23 segment was never selected in IgM-MGUS. The distribution of both DH and JH families in WM did not differ from that in normal B-lymphocytes. Somatic hypermutation with >2% deviation was seen in 90% of cases of WM and in 71% of IgM-MGUS. DJH rearrangements were more frequent in WM than in MGUS (42% and 13%, respectively). All DJH rearrangements were unmutated, which makes them an attractive target for minimal residual disease investigation. IgM clonotypic transcripts were observed in all cases and IgD in 83%. IgA and/or IgG monoclonal isotypes were seen in three WM cases (14%) but in none of the IgM-MGUS patients.
WM and IgM-MGUS exhibit dissimilarities in VDJH and DJH rearrangements that could suggest different differentiation processes. There is evidence that WM cells are able to undergo CSR in vivo, a fact that was initially thought to be impossible in this disease.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Multiple myeloma (MM) is a malignancy of terminally differentiated B lymphocytes, characterized by accumulation of a monotypic plasma cell population in the bone marrow, monoclonal immunoglobulin in serum and/or urine and osteolytic lesions. Despite recent advances in the treatment, MM remains an incurable disease. This calls for an effort to develop novel therapeutics in order to eradicate the disease. Here we have evaluated the potential antimyeloma action of Pemetrexed, an antifolate drug that has shown promising results in other neoplastic diseases. Pemetrexed had a potent antimyeloma effect on cell lines sensitive and resistant to conventional therapeutic agents, and was also efficient on fresh cells from patients and in a murine MM model. Furthermore, Pemetrexed abrogated the protective action on MM cell death of several growth factors produced by the bone marrow microenvironment. Mechanistic studies indicated that Pemetrexed provoked this action by a combined effect that included cell cycle blockade, probably by p21 upregulation, and induction of apoptosis through caspase-dependent and -independent mechanisms. These data, together with the fact that Pemetrexed is already licensed for the therapy of other neoplastic diseases, opens the possibility for the inclusion of Pemetrexed in the therapeutic armamentarium to battle MM.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: As therapy for hematologic malignancy evolves, new regimens and novel agents that target specific cellular processes allow a more optimistic prognosis for many patients. Bortezomib and tipifarnib are two new, targeted treatments for hematologic malignancies. Bortezomib, a proteasome inhibitor, has shown impressive efficacy in patients with relapsed multiple myeloma and as initial treatment, including before autologous stem cell transplantation. It has been studied as monotherapy and in combination with standard treatments such as dexamethasone, and with newer agents such as the immunomodulators thalidomide and lenalidomide; response is encouraging, even in patients who have relapsed after previously receiving components of a regimen as single agents. Bortezomib is generally well tolerated, including in combination with novel and conventional agents. Tipifarnib is a specific inhibitor of farnesyltransferase. Clinical trials in patients with high-risk acute leukemias and myelodysplastic syndromes have demonstrated good efficacy with tipifarnib. Continued investigation with these new, targeted treatments will further define their use as treatment options in patients with hematologic cancer.
The Oncologist 04/2007; 12(3):281-90. · 4.10 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The tumoral clone of Waldenström's macroglobulinemia (WM) shows a wide morphological heterogeneity, which ranges from B lymphocytes (BL) to plasma cells (PC). By means of genome-wide expression profiling we have been able to identify genes exclusively deregulated in BL and PC from WM, but with a similar expression pattern in their corresponding cell counterparts from chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) and multiple myeloma (MM), as well as normal individuals. The differentially expressed genes have important functions in B-cell differentiation and oncogenesis. Thus, two of the genes downregulated in WM-BL were IL4R, which plays a relevant role in CLL B-cell survival, and BACH2, which participates in the development of class-switched PC. Interestingly, one of the upregulated genes in WM-BL was IL6. A set of four genes was able to discriminate clonal BL from WM and CLL: LEF1 (WNT/beta-catenin pathway), MARCKS, ATXN1 and FMOD. We also found deregulation of genes involved in plasma cell differentiation such as PAX5, which was overexpressed in WM-PC, and IRF4 and BLIMP1, which were underexpressed. In addition, three of the target genes activated by PAX5 - CD79, BLNK and SYK - were upregulated in WM-PC. In summary, these results indicate that both PC and BL from WM are genetically different from the MM and CLL cell counterpart.