Familial multiple myeloma: a family study and review of the literature.


The etiology of multiple myeloma (MM) remains obscure, although reports of familial clustering have implicated both a host susceptibility factor and environmental effects. Here we describe the medical histories of members of a family prone to MM.

We developed a pedigree for an MM-prone family by using information obtained from a questionnaire. Protein immunoelectrophoresis of serum and urine from the proband and from 19 family members was performed to detect monoclonal immunoproteins. Peripheral blood obtained from the proband and from five relatives was subjected to standard cytogenetic studies to detect constitutional chromosomal abnormalities. Multifluor-fluorescence in situ hybridization (M-FISH) and standard FISH studies were performed on peripheral blood from the proband and from two other affected living relatives to determine their karyotypes and to detect clonal chromosomal abnormalities frequently seen in patients with MM.

Within this family, a sibship of seven included three individuals (including the proband) with histologically verified MM and two individuals with a monoclonal gammopathy of unknown significance (MGUS), as determined by immunoelectrophoresis of serum and urine. This family also had members with acute lymphocytic leukemia, malignant melanoma, and prostate cancer. In the family members tested, we detected no constitutional chromosomal abnormality. None of the three individuals analyzed by FISH had a deletion of the retinoblastoma (Rb-1) locus, which is frequently deleted in patients with MM, and only one (the proband) had a translocation involving chromosomes 11 and 14, a clonal abnormality commonly seen in MM.

The study of familial MM may provide insights into the pathogenesis and, ultimately, the control and prevention of MM and related disorders.

  • Lynch HT
  • Pirruccello S
  • Quinn-Laquer B
  • Sanger WG
  • Weisenburger DD
PubMed ID
Appears In
J Natl Cancer Inst, 2001, 93 (19)