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642 Multiple Myeloma B Cells and Pre-Plasma Cells Are Important Reservoirs for Myeloma Relapse Following Plasma Cell-Directed Therapy and Prevent Cure with Standard Therapies

Program: Oral and Poster Abstracts
Type: Oral
Session: 651. Multiple Myeloma and Plasma Cell Dyscrasias: Basic and Translational: Molecular Characterization of MM and Precursor Disease States
Hematology Disease Topics & Pathways:
Research, Translational Research, Plasma Cell Disorders, Diseases, Lymphoid Malignancies, Biological Processes, pathogenesis, Minimal Residual Disease
Sunday, December 10, 2023: 5:45 PM

Rodger E. Tiedemann1,2, Ines Tagoug, PhD3*, Natalie Erdmann, MSc3*, Ali Mahdipour-Shirayeh, PhD4* and Kim Chan Chung, PhD3,5*

1School of Medical Sciences, Department of Molecular Medicine and Pathology, University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand
2Department of Medical Oncology and Hematology, Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, Toronto, Canada
3Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, Toronto, ON, Canada
4Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, Toronto, ON, CAN
5Amgen, Toronto, ON, Canada

Multiple Myeloma (MM) is a B cell neoplasm characterized by the accumulation of mature plasma cells (PCs) within the bone marrow (BM). Despite treatment advances, MM remains incurable in the vast majority of patients. Disease relapse typically occurs regardless of treatment with proteasome inhibitors (such as bortezomib and carfilzomib), immunomodulatory drugs (such as lenalidomide and pomalidomide), anti-CD38 monoclonal antibodies (such as daratumumab and isatuximab) or myeloablative melphalan and autologous stem cell transplantation, and also occurs following treatment with immunotherapeutics such as bispecific antibodies and/or CAR-T cells (targeting BCMA, FcRH5 or GPRC5D). This failure to achieve reliable cure in MM, despite the routine attainment of deep treatment responses against PCs, indicates the existence of important intra-tumor heterogeneity and the presence of rare drug-resistant MM cells with full tumorigenic capacity.

To identify intra-clonal MM cell subpopulations, we examined BM samples from MM patients using a combination of FACS, single cell resolved immunoflourescence-FISH (IF-FISH), whole exome sequencing (WES), custom-capture targeted deep sequencing (CC-Seq) and single cell RNA sequencing (scRNAseq). We sought to characterize the genomic landscape and to track the dynamic interconnectedness of these intra-clonal subpopulations in patients over time.

Using sequential FACS-IF-FISH studies of MM BM samples (n=140) we identified MM clone cellular subpopulations within the BM of MM patients that recapitulate the normal maturation stages between non-malignant post germinal centre B cells and mature PCs. These subpopulations include rare MM cells that resemble CD20+CD38-CD138-Bcma-Irf4- Xbp1s- B cells, CD20-CD38-CD138- Bcma-Irf4-Xbp1s- pre-plasmablasts and CD38+CD138-Bcma-/lowIrf4-/+Xbp1s+ pre-plasma cells, as well as predominating tumor-bulk CD38+CD138+Irf4+Bcma+Xbp1s+ plasma cells. Importantly, MM progenitor cells were typically found to possess all of the chromosomal translocations and copy number variations (CNV) present in MM PCs including whole chromosome ploidy changes, translocations such as t(11;14), t(4;14) and t(14;16), and secondary aberrations such as gain(1q), del(1p) and del(17p).

To examine if MM progenitor cells also possess the single nucleotide variations (SNV) present within MM PCs, and are thus fully malignant, and to track MM progenitor subpopulations and their inter-relatedness within patients over time, we performed WES (n=60) plus targeted deep CC-Seq (n=210) on purified cell subpopulations from 17 patients, including 5 patients whom we sampled serially over >3 years. A median of 5 cellular subpopulations were isolated from each BM sample, enriched by factors of up to 1000-fold or more, and each subpopulation was then sequenced to a depth of 4,000–20,000x. Significantly, SNVs that were present in tumor-bulk MM PCs were also regularly detected in MM progenitor cells, although the low frequency of the clonal progenitor cells often prevented capture of complete SNV profiles. At the same time, analyses of serial BM samples from repeat donor patients taken pre- and post-treatment demonstrated that relapsing MM PCs typically did not appear to derive linearly from pre-treatment PCs, as the relapsing PCs commonly lacked a number of SNVs that had been present in pre-treatment PCs. Importantly, we instead observed that relapsed MM plasma cells appeared to consistently derive from MM progenitor cell populations, frequently B cells, as emergent relapse-specific SNVs that were exclusively detected in relapsing post-treatment PCs (but in not pre-treatment PCs) could often also be detected within pre-treatment CD138- CD38- progenitor cells isolated from BM samples that had been collected up to 3 years prior to relapse.

We conclude that MM B cells and pre-plasma cell progenitors possess all of the clonal genomic aberrations required for full malignant potential. Tracking of these cells in vivo in patients over time by their SNV profile implicates them as the cellular origin of PC relapse and recurrent MM disease. We propose that cure of MM requires eradication of MM progenitor cells alongside plasma cells. We are currently conducting scRNA-seq and CITE-seq studies of primary MM samples to further characterize MM progenitor cells for gene and protein expression in order to define their optimal therapeutic targets.

Disclosures: Tiedemann: AbbVie: Consultancy; Janssen Canada: Consultancy. Chan Chung: Amgen, Canada: Current Employment.

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