Distinct clonal identities of B-ALLs arising after lenolidomide therapy for multiple myeloma

Blood Adv. 2023 Jan 24;7(2):236-245. doi: 10.1182/bloodadvances.2022007496.


Patients with multiple myeloma (MM) who are treated with lenalidomide rarely develop a secondary B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (B-ALL). The clonal and biological relationship between these sequential malignancies is not yet clear. We identified 17 patients with MM treated with lenalidomide, who subsequently developed B-ALL. Patient samples were evaluated through sequencing, cytogenetics/fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH), immunohistochemical (IHC) staining, and immunoglobulin heavy chain (IgH) clonality assessment. Samples were assessed for shared mutations and recurrently mutated genes. Through whole exome sequencing and cytogenetics/FISH analysis of 7 paired samples (MM vs matched B-ALL), no mutational overlap between samples was observed. Unique dominant IgH clonotypes between the tumors were observed in 5 paired MM/B-ALL samples. Across all 17 B-ALL samples, 14 (83%) had a TP53 variant detected. Three MM samples with sufficient sequencing depth (>500×) revealed rare cells (average of 0.6% variant allele frequency, or 1.2% of cells) with the same TP53 variant identified in the subsequent B-ALL sample. A lack of mutational overlap between MM and B-ALL samples shows that B-ALL developed as a second malignancy arising from a founding population of cells that likely represented unrelated clonal hematopoiesis caused by a TP53 mutation. The recurrent variants in TP53 in the B-ALL samples suggest a common path for malignant transformation that may be similar to that of TP53-mutant, treatment-related acute myeloid leukemia. The presence of rare cells containing TP53 variants in bone marrow at the initiation of lenalidomide treatment suggests that cellular populations containing TP53 variants expand in the presence of lenalidomide to increase the likelihood of B-ALL development.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Bone Marrow / pathology
  • Burkitt Lymphoma* / pathology
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulin Heavy Chains / genetics
  • In Situ Hybridization, Fluorescence
  • Lenalidomide* / adverse effects
  • Lenalidomide* / therapeutic use
  • Multiple Myeloma* / drug therapy
  • Mutation
  • Precursor B-Cell Lymphoblastic Leukemia-Lymphoma* / pathology


  • Immunoglobulin Heavy Chains
  • Lenalidomide