Highly expressed genes in multiple myeloma cells - what can they tell us about the disease?

Eur J Haematol. 2022 Jul;109(1):31-40. doi: 10.1111/ejh.13766. Epub 2022 Mar 20.


Cancer cells can convert proto-oncoproteins into oncoproteins by increasing the expression of genes that are oncogenic when expressed at high levels. Such genes can promote oncogenesis without being mutated. To find overexpressed genes in cancer cells from patients with multiple myeloma, we retrieved mRNA expression data from the CoMMpass database and ranked genes by their expression levels. We grouped the most highly expressed genes based on a set of criteria and we discuss the role a selection of them can play in the disease pathophysiology. The list was highly concordant with a similar list based on mRNA expression data from the PADIMAC study. Many well-known "myeloma genes" such as MCL1, CXCR4, TNFRSF17, SDC1, SLAMF7, PTP4A3, and XBP1 were identified as highly expressed, and we believe that hitherto unrecognized key players in myeloma pathogenesis are also enriched on the list. Highly expressed genes in malignant plasma cells that were absent or expressed at only a low level in healthy plasma cells included IFI6, IFITM1, PTP4A3, SIK1, ALDOA, ATP5MF, ATP5ME, and PSMB4. The ambition of this article is not to validate the role of each gene but to serve as a guide for studies aiming at identifying promising treatment targets.

Keywords: B2M; BCMA; CD74; FOS; HBB; JUN; TCTP; TPT1; multiple myeloma; β2-microglobulin.

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Multiple Myeloma* / diagnosis
  • Multiple Myeloma* / genetics
  • Multiple Myeloma* / metabolism
  • Neoplasm Proteins / genetics
  • Neoplasm Proteins / metabolism
  • Oncogene Proteins / genetics
  • Oncogene Proteins / metabolism
  • Oncogenes
  • Plasma Cells / pathology
  • Proteasome Endopeptidase Complex / metabolism
  • Protein Tyrosine Phosphatases / genetics
  • Protein Tyrosine Phosphatases / metabolism
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism


  • Neoplasm Proteins
  • Oncogene Proteins
  • RNA, Messenger
  • PTP4A3 protein, human
  • Protein Tyrosine Phosphatases
  • PSMB4 protein, human
  • Proteasome Endopeptidase Complex