This article was originally published here
Am J Cancer Res. 2021 Nov 15;11(11):5659-5679. eCollection 2021.
Multiple Myeloma (MM) arises from malignant transformation and deregulated proliferation of clonal plasma cells (PCs) harbouring heterogeneous molecular anomalies. The effect of evolving mutations on clone fitness and their cellular prevalence shapes the progressing myeloma genome and impacts clinical outcomes. Although clonal heterogeneity in MM is well established, which subclonal mutations emerge/persist/perish with progression in MM and which of these can be targeted therapeutically remains an open question. In line with this, we have sequenced pairwise whole exomes of 62 MM patients collected at two time points, i.e., at diagnosis and on progression. Somatic variants were called using a novel ensemble approach where a consensus was deduced from four variant callers (Illumina’s Dragen, Strelka2, SomaticSniper and SpeedSeq) and actionable/druggable gene targets were identified. A marked intraclonal heterogeneity was observed. Branching evolution was observed among 72.58% patients, of whom 64.51% had low TMBs (<10) and 61.29% had 2 or more founder clones. The hypermutator patients (with high TMB levels ≥10 to ≤100) showed a significant decrease in their TMBs from diagnosis (median TMB 77.11) to progression (median TMB 31.22). A distinct temporal fall in subclonal driver mutations was identified recurrently across diagnosis to progression e.g., in PABPC1, BRAF, KRAS, CR1, DIS3 and ATM genes in 3 or more patients suggesting such patients could be treated early with target specific drugs like Vemurafenib/Cobimetinib. An analogous rise in driver mutations was observed in KMT2C, FOXD4L1, SP140, NRAS and other genes. A few drivers such as FAT4, IGLL5 and CDKN1A retained consistent distribution patterns at two time points. These findings are clinically relevant and point at consideration of evaluating multi time point subclonal mutational landscapes for designing better risk stratification strategies and tailoring time to time risk adapted combination therapies in future.