Major biological processes involved in the development of myeloma have been uncovered in research from the Institute of Cancer Research (ICR).

The Myeloma UK-funded research increases the known knowledge of how myeloma develops and evolves and also suggests that analysis of mutational signatures could play a role in helping identify high risk myeloma patients and predicting patient outcomes.

The charity says that this will aid the development of more personalised treatments for myeloma patients and help to drive improved diagnosis and assessment of prognosis.

The results showed that four biological processes cause 80% of the mutations found in myeloma: ageing, errors in DNA repair, dysfunction of the RNA/DNA editing activation-induced deaminases and dysfunction of apolipoprotein B editing complexes.

The data also provides evidence of mutational signature specificity between patient sub-groups which indicates that mutational signatures could help improve patient prognosis.

Professor Richard Houlston, head of the Division of Genetics and Epidemiology at The Institute of Cancer Research, London, said that “understanding of the genetics of myeloma plays a key role in identifying why myeloma is such a complex and individual cancer. This research helps improve our knowledge of the processes causing the disease and refine patient outcome.”

He went on to explain that, “with continued funding support from Myeloma UK we aim to learn more about how myeloma evolves. We are performing state of the art molecular analyses to uncover how genetic mutations affect gene function. This information should unlock the key processes defining disease relapse paving the way for novel therapeutic interventions.”

The info was collated from analysis of the whole-genome sequencing (WGS) and whole-exome sequencing (WES) data from more than 800 myeloma patients, collected as part of the CoMMpass trial.