Tumor cells in light-chain amyloidosis and myeloma show distinct transcriptional rewiring of normal plasma cell development

Blood. 2021 Oct 28;138(17):1583-1589. doi: 10.1182/blood.2020009754.


Although light-chain amyloidosis (AL) and multiple myeloma (MM) are characterized by tumor plasma cell (PC) expansion in bone marrow (BM), their clinical presentation differs. Previous attempts to identify unique pathogenic mechanisms behind such differences were unsuccessful, and no studies have investigated the differentiation stage of tumor PCs in patients with AL and MM. We sought to define a transcriptional atlas of normal PC development in secondary lymphoid organs (SLOs), peripheral blood (PB), and BM for comparison with the transcriptional programs (TPs) of tumor PCs in AL, MM, and monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance (MGUS). Based on bulk and single-cell RNA sequencing, we observed 13 TPs during transition of normal PCs throughout SLOs, PB, and BM. We further noted the following: CD39 outperforms CD19 to discriminate newborn from long-lived BM-PCs; tumor PCs expressed the most advantageous TPs of normal PC differentiation; AL shares greater similarity to SLO-PCs whereas MM is transcriptionally closer to PB-PCs and newborn BM-PCs; patients with AL and MM enriched in immature TPs had inferior survival; and protein N-linked glycosylation-related TPs are upregulated in AL. Collectively, we provide a novel resource to understand normal PC development and the transcriptional reorganization of AL and other monoclonal gammopathies.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulin Light-chain Amyloidosis / genetics
  • Immunoglobulin Light-chain Amyloidosis / pathology*
  • Multiple Myeloma / genetics
  • Multiple Myeloma / pathology*
  • Plasma Cells / metabolism
  • Plasma Cells / pathology*
  • Transcriptome*
  • Tumor Cells, Cultured