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Prashant Kapoor, MD, FACP


Can Microvesicles, Derived From Myeloma Cells, Be Used to Monitor Tumor Load?

By: Celeste L. Dixon
Posted: Tuesday, June 20, 2023

According to investigators from China, the use of flow cytometry methods to detect quantities of bone marrow microvesicles—which carry markers that reflect their origins—may be a useful way to monitor tumor load in multiple myeloma—perhaps improving on current tools in use. Because tumor load often leads to relapse, its accurate detection is crucial to guide clinical management. These findings, which were reported by Rong Fu, MD, of Tianjin Medical University General Hospital, China, and colleagues, were published as a Letter to the Editor in Experimental Hematology & Oncology.

The authors discussed their work involving such strategies as differential centrifugation to isolate bone marrow supernatant microvesicles and electron microscopy to verify microvesicles’ morphology. Liquid biopsy techniques similar to those they investigated might “solve the false-negative [results] of bone marrow to some extent,” they posited.

In one part of their study, “the number of CD41a-negative, phosphatidylserine-positive microvesicles from bone marrow was significantly higher in [patients with] newly diagnosed multiple myeloma (n = 49) than in healthy donors (n = 34) and in [patients in] complete remission (n = 40, P < .001),” explained Dr. Fu and coauthors. Also, they compared the bone marrow microvesicles of 11 patients with newly diagnosed disease with 11 matched patients who had been treated and achieved complete remission. Here, numbers of certain microvesicles were significantly higher in the newly diagnosed versus the remission group (P < .001), meaning they may be noteworthy in the quest to monitor multiple myeloma load.

Further, using Western blotting, the team explored phosphorylation of myosin light chain, an important contributing mechanism in microvesicles’ release from cells. Results showed that SMI-16a, a PIM2 kinase inhibitor that is a member of the serine/threonine family, significantly reduced the release of microvesicles from multiple myeloma cells compared with a peripheral blood smear (P < .001).

Disclosure: The study authors reported no conflicts of interest.

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