Research ArticleCancer

Genetic interrogation of circulating multiple myeloma cells at single-cell resolution

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Science Translational Medicine  02 Nov 2016:
Vol. 8, Issue 363, pp. 363ra147
DOI: 10.1126/scitranslmed.aac7037

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Single-cell approach to multiple myeloma

Multiple myeloma is a cancer of plasma cells in the bone marrow, and it remains very difficult to treat. Unfortunately, it is hard to tell when a patient is developing chemotherapy resistance because monitoring response to treatment in this cancer normally requires a bone marrow biopsy, an invasive and painful procedure that cannot be repeated frequently. Lohr et al. now demonstrate that circulating tumor cells in peripheral blood of multiple myeloma patients can provide the same genetic information as bone marrow samples, and sometimes more. This finding suggests that noninvasive monitoring of peripheral blood samples in multiple myeloma should be useful for tracking patients’ response to therapy and optimizing the treatment approach for each patient.