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Differences in Genetic Mutations in Blacks and Whites With Multiple Myeloma

By: Cordi Craig
Posted: Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Based on the findings of one of the largest comprehensive molecular analyses of ethnically defined newly diagnosed treatment-naive patients with multiple myeloma, there appear to be significant differences in the frequency of genetic mutations between African American and Caucasian patients with myeloma. These genetic differences may affect how myeloma progresses as well as which targeted therapies would be most appropriate for a given patient.

“A cancer therapy that targets TP53 would not be as effective for African Americans with multiple myeloma as it would be for a white population because doctors would be trying to fix the wrong mutated gene,” revealed Zarko Manojlovic, MD, PhD, of the University of Southern California (USC), in a USC news release. The study findings of Dr. Manojlovic and colleagues were published in PLoS Genetics.

Clinical data from 718 multiple myeloma patients from the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation and COMMpass study Interim Analysis 9 were used in correlation with somatic, whole-exome, and RNA-sequencing information. Researchers found that African American patients showed higher frequency of genetic mutations in BCL7A, BRWD3, and AUTS2, whereas patients of European descent had a higher frequency of mutations of TP53 and IRF4.

Senior study author, John Carpten, PhD, also of USC, suggested the need for true population diversity in multiple myeloma clinical trials, “so we can understand the role of ancestry and biology in health outcomes.”