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Health Agencies Update
March 24/31, 2004

Multiple Myeloma Discovery

JAMA. 2004;291(12):1434. doi:10.1001/jama.291.12.1434-d

A research team led by scientists at the National Cancer Institute has revealed that the oncogene c-maf may play a major role in the development of many cases of multiple myeloma, an incurable blood cancer (Cancer Cell. 2004;5:191-200).

Although the c-maf gene is translocated in only 5% to 10% of multiple myelomas, the researchers screened 26 multiple myeloma bone marrow samples from patients and found that c-maf was expressed in half the samples. Normal plasma cells did not express this gene. They found that expression of c-maf stimulates tumor cell proliferation and attachment to structural elements within the bone marrow, and that inhibiting c-maf in myeloma cells blocked tumor cell formation in mice. Such findings suggest that c-maf may provide a new target for future therapies.