Higher proportion of non-classical and intermediate monocytes in newly diagnosed multiple myeloma patients in Egypt: A possible prognostic marker

Afr J Lab Med. 2021 Aug 25;10(1):129. doi: 10.4102/ajlm.v10i1.1296. eCollection 2021.


Background: Interaction between multiple myeloma (MM) cells and proximal monocytes is expected during plasma cell proliferation. However, the role of monocyte subsets in the disease progression is unknown.

Objective: This study evaluated circulating monocyte populations in MM patients and their correlation with disease severity.

Methods: Peripheral monocytes from 20 patients with MM attending Assiut University Hospital in Assiut, Egypt, between October 2018 and August 2019 were processed using a flow cytometry procedure and stratified using the intensity of expression of CD14 and CD16 into classical (CD16-CD14++), intermediate (CD16+CD14++), and non-classical (CD16++CD14+) subsets. The data were compared with data from 20 healthy control participants with comparable age and sex.

Results: In patients with MM, the percentage of classical monocytes was significantly lower (mean ± standard error: 77.24 ± 0.66 vs 83.75 ± 0.5), while those of non-classical (12.44 ± 0.5 vs 8.9 ± 0.34) and intermediate (10.3 ± 0.24 vs 7.4 ± 0.29) monocytes were significantly higher when compared with those of controls (all p < 0.0001). Proportions of non-classical and intermediate monocytes correlated positively with serum levels of plasma cells, M-protein, calcium, creatinine and lactate dehydrogenase, and correlated negatively with the serum albumin level. Proportions of classical monocytes correlated positively with albumin level and negatively correlated with serum levels of M-protein, plasma cells, calcium, creatinine, and lactate dehydrogenase.

Conclusion: Circulating monocyte subpopulations are skewed towards non-classical and intermediate monocytes in MM patients, and the intensity of this skewness increases with disease severity.

Keywords: classical monocytes; flow cytometry; intermediate monocytes; multiple myeloma; non-classical monocytes.