Gender disparities in the tumor genetics and clinical outcome of multiple myeloma

Kevin D. Boyd, Fiona M. Ross, Laura Chiecchio, GianPaolo Dagrada, Zoe J. Konn, William J. Tapper, Brian A. Walker, Christopher P. Wardell, Walter M. Gregory, Alex J. Szubert, Faith E. Davies, Gareth J. Morgan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Several cancer types have differences in incidence and clinical outcome dependent on gender, but these are not well described in myeloma. The aim of this study was to characterize gender disparities in myeloma. Methods: We investigated the association of gender with the prevalence of tumor genetic lesions and the clinical outcome of 1,960 patients enrolled in the phase III clinical trial MRC Myeloma IX. Genetic lesions were characterized by FISH. Results: Disparities were found in the prevalence of primary genetic lesions with immunoglobulin heavy chain gene (IGH) translocations being more common in women (50% of female patients vs. 38% of male patients, P <0.001) and hyperdiploidy being more common in men (50% female vs. 62% male, P <0.001). There were also differences in secondary genetic events with del(13q) (52% female vs. 41% male, P <0.001) and +1q (43% female vs. 36% male, P= 0.042) being found more frequently in female myeloma patients. Female gender was associated with inferior overall survival (median: 44.8 months female vs. 49.9 months male, P = 0.020). Conclusions: We found gender-dependent differences in the prevalence of the primary genetic events of myeloma, with IGH translocations being more common in women and hyperdiploidy more common in men. This genetic background may impact subsequent genetic events such as +1q and del(13q), which were both more frequent in women. The higher prevalence of lesions associated with poor prognosis in the female myeloma population, such as t(4;14), t(14;16) and +1q, may adversely affect clinical outcome. Impact: These differences suggest that gender influences the primary genetic events of myeloma.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1703-1707
Number of pages5
JournalCancer Epidemiology Biomarkers and Prevention
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2011

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Oncology


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