Background: Multiparameter flow cytometry (MFC) identification and characterization of plasma cells (PCs) is a useful tool to support diagnosis, prognostication, and monitoring of PC diseases (PCD). Currently, the number of MFC markers suited for the identification of PC remains limited. Moreover, antibody therapies against PC-associated markers further compromise the utility of the most widely used reagents (e.g., CD38). Despite markers other than CD38 and CD138 are recognized as potentially useful PC-identification markers, no study has comparatively evaluated their performance in combination with CD38 and CD138. Here we compared the utility of CD229, CD54, and CD319 for the identification of normal and aberrant PCs.
Methods: Bone marrow (BM) samples from 5 healthy controls, two noninfiltrated nonHodgkin lymphoma cases and 46 PCD patients plus 3 extraosseous plasmocytomas, and normal peripheral blood (PB) specimens, were studied.
Results: Our results showed adequate performance of all three markers once combined with CD38. In contrast, when combined with CD138 for the identification of PC, only CD229 provided a good discrimination between PCs and all other cells for all BM and PB samples analyzed; in contrast, CD54 and CD319 showed limited utility for the identification of PCs, mainly because of significant overlap of the staining for these two markers on PCs and other myeloid cells in the sample.
Conclusions: From the three markers evaluated, CD229 may be considered as the most reliable marker to replace CD38 or CD138 for the identification of PCs in patients undergoing anti-CD38 or anti-CD138 therapy, until a better alternative is available.
Keywords: EuroFlow; immunophenotyping; minimal residual disease; multiparameter flow cytometry; multiple myeloma; new markers; plasma cells.
© 2015 International Clinical Cytometry Society.