Variability in cytogenetic testing for multiple myeloma: a comprehensive analysis from across the United States

Yang Yu, Niquelle Brown Wade, Amie E. Hwang, Ajay K. Nooka, Mark A. Fiala, Ann Mohrbacher, Edward S. Peters, Karen Pawlish, Cathryn Bock, David J. van Den, Kristin A. Rand, Daniel Stram, David V. Conti, Daniel Auclair, Graham A. Colditz, Jayesh Mehta, Christopher A. Haiman, Howard Terebelo, Nalini Janakiraman, Seema SinghalBrian Chiu, Ravi Vij, Leon Bernal-Mizrachi, Jeffrey A. Zonder, Carol A. Huff, Sagar Lonial, Robert Z. Orlowski, Wendy Cozen, Sikander Ailawadhi*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Purpose Multiple myeloma (MM) treatment has changed tremendously, with significant improvement in patient out-comes. One group with a suboptimal benefit is patients with high-risk cytogenetics, as tested by conventional karyotyping or fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH). Methodology for these tests has been published, but not necessarily standardized. Methods We address variability in the testing and reporting methodology for MM cytogenetics in the United States using the ongoing African American Multiple Myeloma Study (AAMMS). We evaluated clinical and cytogenetic data from 1,221 patients (1,161 with conventional karyotyping and 976 with FISH) tested between 1998 and 2016 across 58 laboratories nationwide. Results Interlab and intralab variability was noted for the number of cells analyzed for karyotyping, with a significantly higher number of cells analyzed in patients in whom cytogenetics were normal (P 5.0025). For FISH testing, CD138-positive cell enrichment was used in 29.7% of patients and no enrichment in 50% of patients, whereas the remainder had unknown status. A significantly smaller number of cells was analyzed for patients in which CD138 cell enrichment was used compared with those without such enrichment (median, 50 v 200; P, .0001). A median of 7 loci probes (range, 1-16) were used for FISH testing across all laboratories, with variability in the loci probed even within a given laboratory. Chromosome 13–related abnormalities were the most frequently tested abnormality (n5956; 97.9%), and t(14;16) was the least frequently tested abnormality (n 5 119; 12.2%). Conclusions We report significant variability in cytogenetic testing across the United States for MM, potentially leading to variability in risk stratification, with possible clinical implications and personalized treatment approaches.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)E1169-E1180
JournalJCO Oncology Practice
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 1 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Health Policy
  • Oncology(nursing)


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