• Press Release

Scientists Identify New Types of a Blood Cancer and Potential Targeted Treatments

Researchers are first to create a novel model for multiple myeloma, stratifying the cancer’s severity via DNA and RNA sequencing

  • New York, NY
  • (November 17, 2021)

Mount Sinai researchers have developed a new model that uses DNA and RNA sequencing data from hundreds of patients to identify specific genes and genetic alterations responsible for never-before-defined subtypes of a blood cancer called multiple myeloma. They also identified potential targeted treatments based on the findings, as reported in Science Advances in November.

This is the first study using multi-omics, the integration and analysis of multiple data types, to create a computational model of multiple myeloma, which the scientists named the Multiple Myeloma Patient Similarity Network (MM-PSN). The genes identified in the analysis included some associated with a high risk of relapse.

“Our findings have immediate implications for the development of novel precision medicine tools and clinical trials, as different subgroups of patients may respond to different targeted and immuno- oncology therapies based on their genomic and transcriptomic profiles,” said lead author Alessandro Lagana, PhD, Assistant Professor of Oncological Sciences at The Tisch Cancer Institute at Mount Sinai. “These studies are fundamental to advancing our understanding of myeloma pathology and pave the way for future research into drug repurposing approaches aimed at novel therapies tailored to specific patient subgroups.”

Researchers believe that MM-PSN captures the complexity of multiple myeloma by associating patients with highly similar DNA and RNA profiles to form more granular and homogeneous classes than achieved by previous classifications. Within the MM-PSN model, researchers represented patients as nodes, much as in a social network, that are connected with one another based on how similar their DNA and RNA profiles are.

To create MM-PSN, researchers analyzed five different types of data obtained from DNA and RNA sequencing of 655 newly diagnosed multiple myeloma patients. The analysis of MM-PSN identified three main groups and 12 subgroups enriched for distinct genetic and molecular features, revealing remarkable diversity within previously defined disease subtypes —such as hyperdiploid and MMSET-translocated, which are chromosome abnormalities—and novel insights into the occurrence of primary and secondary genomic alterations within each patient’s cancer.

One of the biggest findings of the MM-PSN is the an abnormality within an area of chromosome 1 being the most important single genetic variant associated with a high risk of relapse; the study suggests that it should now be incorporated into international myeloma staging systems. Researchers also identified new classes of high-risk patients beyond current classifications in multiple myeloma, including one of patients at highest risk of relapse and shortest overall survival, and another that is often associated with more favorable outcomes.

This work was supported by grants from the National Cancer Institute (NCI) (R21-CA209875-01A1; R01-1R01CA244899-01A1), The Tisch Cancer Institute NCI Support Grant (P30 CA196521) and the Multiple Myeloma philanthropic fund. This work was also supported in part through the computational resources and staff expertise provided by Scientific Computing at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai.


About the Mount Sinai Health System

Mount Sinai Health System is one of the largest academic medical systems in the New York metro area, with more than 43,000 employees working across eight hospitals, over 400 outpatient practices, nearly 300 labs, a school of nursing, and a leading school of medicine and graduate education. Mount Sinai advances health for all people, everywhere, by taking on the most complex health care challenges of our time — discovering and applying new scientific learning and knowledge; developing safer, more effective treatments; educating the next generation of medical leaders and innovators; and supporting local communities by delivering high-quality care to all who need it.

Through the integration of its hospitals, labs, and schools, Mount Sinai offers comprehensive health care solutions from birth through geriatrics, leveraging innovative approaches such as artificial intelligence and informatics while keeping patients’ medical and emotional needs at the center of all treatment. The Health System includes approximately 7,300 primary and specialty care physicians; 13 joint-venture outpatient surgery centers throughout the five boroughs of New York City, Westchester, Long Island, and Florida; and more than 30 affiliated community health centers. We are consistently ranked by U.S. News & World Report's Best Hospitals, receiving high "Honor Roll" status, and are highly ranked: No. 1 in Geriatrics and top 20 in Cardiology/Heart Surgery, Diabetes/Endocrinology, Gastroenterology/GI Surgery, Neurology/Neurosurgery, Orthopedics, Pulmonology/Lung Surgery, Rehabilitation, and Urology. New York Eye and Ear Infirmary of Mount Sinai is ranked No. 12 in Ophthalmology. U.S. News & World Report’s “Best Children’s Hospitals” ranks Mount Sinai Kravis Children's Hospital among the country’s best in 4 out of 10 pediatric specialties. The Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai is one of three medical schools that have earned distinction by multiple indicators: It is consistently ranked in the top 20 by U.S. News & World Report's "Best Medical Schools," aligned with a U.S. News & World Report "Honor Roll" Hospital, and top 20 in the nation for National Institutes of Health funding and top 5 in the nation for numerous basic and clinical research areas. Newsweek’s “The World’s Best Smart Hospitals” ranks The Mount Sinai Hospital as No. 1 in New York and in the top five globally, and Mount Sinai Morningside in the top 20 globally.

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