Multiple myeloma: Essen researchers help identify genetic predisposition for bone marrow cancer

In a study conducted with researchers from Great Britain and the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ) in Heidelberg, members of the Faculty of Medicine were able to identify a genetic marker associated with a predisposition for a certain form of multiple myeloma. There is no cure for multiple myeloma at the present time. However, it is hoped that gaining new insight into the origin of the disease will lead to new approaches in prevention and treatment. Multiple myeloma accounts for around one percent of all malignant diseases overall and between ten and 15 percent of malignant conditions of the circulatory system. The cancer cells in multiple myeloma often exhibit complex genetic changes, such as gain or loss of genetic material or translocations of parts of one chromosome to another. The number and type of changes can help to supply information such as how aggressive the cancer is and how it will progress. As part of a study in which researchers from the Institute of Medical Informatics, Biometry and Epidemiology (IMIBE) at University Hospital Essen took part and which has been published in the renowned journal Nature Genetics, genetic variants were examined which could be linked with a particular predisposition to develop certain subgroups of multiple myeloma characterised by chromosomal changes. The study was based in part on data collected under the Heinz Nixdorf Recall Study.