Cytokine gene expression in human multiple myeloma

Br J Haematol. 1993 Nov;85(3):514-20. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2141.1993.tb03341.x.


In the present study the gene expression of cytokines promoting in vitro myeloma-cell growth was investigated by Northern blot analysis using total RNA of 36 tumour samples of patients with multiple myeloma (MM) or plasma cell leukaemia and poly(A)+ RNA of 10 human myeloma cell lines (HMCL). These cytokines included interleukin (IL)-1 alpha, IL-1 beta, IL-3, IL-6, granulocyte-macrophage (GM)-colony-stimulating factor (CSF) and granulocyte (G)-CSF. IL-1 beta, IL-6 and G-CSF genes were coexpressed in most patients, although at variable levels. IL-1 alpha transcripts were detected in 32% of patients in whom coexpression of IL-1 beta gene was found. IL-3 gene was not expressed in patients' cells and GM-CSF mRNA was detected in only 1/32 patients. No detectable transcripts for the above cytokines were present in HMCL, whereas IL-6 gene was expressed in 2/10 HMCL. We also looked for the presence of transcripts for IL-2, leukaemia inhibitory factor (LIF) and transforming growth factor (TGF)beta in cells of tumour samples from the same patients and in HMCL. IL-2 gene was not expressed in MM patients and HMCL. Weak expression of LIF gene was detected in three patients (9%), and transforming growth factor beta (TGF beta) mRNA was observed in 12/12 tumour samples analysed and all HMCL. These results suggest that, among cytokines shown to control myeloma-cell growth in vitro, IL-1, IL-6 and G-CSF could play a role in the development of myeloma disease in vivo.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Blotting, Northern
  • Cytokines / genetics
  • Gene Expression
  • Granulocyte Colony-Stimulating Factor / genetics*
  • Growth Inhibitors / genetics
  • Humans
  • Interleukin-1 / genetics*
  • Interleukin-2 / genetics
  • Interleukin-6 / genetics*
  • Leukemia Inhibitory Factor
  • Leukemia, Plasma Cell / genetics
  • Lymphokines / genetics
  • Multiple Myeloma / genetics*
  • Multiple Myeloma / immunology
  • Transforming Growth Factor beta / genetics


  • Cytokines
  • Growth Inhibitors
  • Interleukin-1
  • Interleukin-2
  • Interleukin-6
  • LIF protein, human
  • Leukemia Inhibitory Factor
  • Lymphokines
  • Transforming Growth Factor beta
  • Granulocyte Colony-Stimulating Factor