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Maria Stella Graziani

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Martina Zaninotto

Associate Editors
Ferruccio Ceriotti
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Giampaolo Merlini
Martina Montagnana
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Paola Pezzati
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Matteo Vidali

International Advisory Board Khosrow Adeli Canada
Sergio Bernardini Italy
Marcello Ciaccio Italy
Eleftherios Diamandis Canada
Philippe Gillery France
Kjell Grankvist Sweden
Hans Jacobs The Netherlands
Eric Kilpatrick UK
Magdalena Krintus Poland
Giuseppe Lippi Italy
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Ana-Maria Simundic Croatia
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Giuseppe Agosta

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Andrea di Bello
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ISSN print: 0393 – 0564
ISSN digital: 0392- 7091

BC: Articoli scritti da G. Palladini

Revisione e aggiornamento del documento di consenso SIBioC per la ricerca e quantificazione della proteina di Bence Jones
Update of the Italian Society of Clinical Biochemistry (SIBioC) Consensus document on the detection and quantification of the Bence Jones protein
<p>Bence Jones protein (BJP) refers to urine monoclonal free immunoglobulin light chains produced by the clonal expansion of a plasma cell in the bone marrow. BJP is strongly associated with systemic amyloidosis AL, light chain deposition disease, and multiple myeloma; less frequently, BJP may be recognized either in patients with monoclonal gammopathies of uncertain significance (MGUS) and with other plasma cell dyscrasias or in patients with malignant non-Hodgkin&#39;s lymphomas and chronic lymphocytic leukemia. This paper contains updated recommendations for the detection and the measurement of BJP in clinical practice from the Working Group &ldquo;Proteins&rdquo; of the Italian Society of Clinical Biochemistry (SIBioC), with specific indications for improving all the steps of the preanalytical, analytical, and postanalytical phases. The first morning void is the urine sample recommended for BJP detection, while 24-hours urine collection is preferred for BJP quantification. Native urine cannot be used for samples with low or very low content in urine total protein; in these cases, samples should be concentrated by using specific disposables, such as ultrafiltration membranes retaining proteins with molecular weight around 10 kDa. The required degree of concentration may vary according to sensitivity of the electrophoretic method utilized and the protein content of the sample. The detection of BJP may be performed directly by the recommended method agarose gel immunofixation (IFE) with specific polyvalent immunoglobulin antisera IgG-IgA-IgM, total  and  light chains; alternatively, an electrophoretic screening may be acceptable to rule out negative test results. However, positive test results should be confirmed by IFE. Tests based on immunometric methods can be used neither as screening test, nor for the BJP quantification; however, it could be useful for monitoring purposes, provided that the renal function of the patient is preserved. BJP measurement should be performed by the densitometric scanning of the electrophoretic peak corresponding to BJP, and results should be expressed as ratio of the BJP peak percentage to the urine total protein. Test results should be always integrated by standardized interpretative comments included in the laboratory reports.</p>
Biochimica Clinica ; 45(1) 075-086
Documenti SIBioC - SIBioC Documents
Una complicata valutazione della risposta alla terapia in un paziente con malattia da deposito di catene leggere libere
A complicated evaluation of the response to the therapy in a patient with light chain deposition disease
<p>Light chain deposition disease (LCDD) is characterized by tissue deposition, mostly in the kidney, of monoclonal immunoglobulin light chains (LCs), causing renal dysfunction and end-stage renal disease. The main goal of therapy is the reduction of LCs concentration, that can be obtained using chemotherapy approaches. We report the case of a 28-year-old man with LCDD (IgG&kappa; type) and underlying multiple myeloma who, after three ineffective lines of therapy, started a treatment with daratumumab, a monoclonal antibody (mAb, IgG1&kappa; type) drug, recently introduced for multiple myeloma treatment. The drug seemed effective but a IgG&kappa; spike remained visible at standard immunofixation. To discriminate the drug from the patient monoclonal component, immunofixation with Hydrashift system was used. This tool identified the visible IgG&kappa; as mAb drug and complete response was documented. This case showed the utility of new clinical assays for the evaluation of response to therapy in patients treated with mAb drugs.</p>
Biochimica Clinica ; 44(4) e30-e33
Casi Clinici - Case Report
I marcatori di clonalità per la diagnosi e la valutazione della risposta alla terapia nell’amiloidosi da catene leggere: il ruolo del laboratorio
Clonal biomarkers for diagnosis and response to treatment assessment in light chain amyloidosis: the role of the laboratory
<p>Serum monoclonal components, Bence-Jones proteinuria (PBJ) and free light chains (FLC) are clonal biomarkers for diagnosis and response assessment in light chain (AL) amyloidosis. Two clinical reports are presented here toi llustrate the utility of these biomarkers. The first case is a patient with AL &kappa;appa renal amyloidosis. Serum and urine immunofixation were negative and the FLC ratio was abnormal. Immunoelectron microscopy on tissue biopsy was negative. Amyloid typing was achieved by mass spectrometry on fat pad aspirate. The second case is a patient with AL cardiac amyloidosis with PBJ lambdaand low concentration of amyloidogenic FLC (32 mg/L). Urine capillary electrophoresis was used to assess response to treatment. The progressive reduction of PBJ after treatment was accompanied by reduction of NT-proBNP and improvement of clinical conditions. Clonal biomarkers are irreplaceable tools in management of AL amyloidosis. There is a need for more sensitive techniques for identification of monoclonal FLC on serum and urine.</p>
Biochimica Clinica ; 44(2) E11-E15
Casi Clinici - Case Report
Le troponine cardiache nelle amiloidosi sistemiche
Cardiac troponins in systemic amyloidosis
<p>Systemic amyloidosis is an increasingly recognized cause of heart failure. The two most common forms of amyloidosis involving the heart are AL (caused by monoclonal immunoglobulin light chains) and ATTR (caused by wild-type or variant transthyretin) amyloidosis. Involvement of the heart is by far the most important prognostic determinant, and its severity is easily and accurately stratified by cardiac biomarkers (natriuretic peptides and troponins). In AL amyloidosis, cardiac troponins are also useful in the design of the therapeutic strategy (excluding fragile patients from autologous stem cell transplantation) and in identification of cardiac progression. Response and progression criteria are still lacking in ATTR amyloidosis, and studies addressing this topic are warranted.</p>
Biochimica Clinica ; 44(2) S074-078
Opinioni - Opinions
Un caso di gammopatia monoclonale di significato renale
A case of monoclonal gammopathy of renal significance
<p>Monoclonal gammopathy of renal significance (MGRS) is a condition defined by the presence of a small-B cell clone causing a renal disease trough deposition in renal tissues of the monoclonal component (MC) secreted by the B cells. Since MGRS is associated with several types of renal diseases, characterization of renal damage caused by protein deposition is important to define the correct diagnosis as well as the identification of the MC. Adult Fanconi Syndrome (FS) is characterized by the presence of a MC and damage in the proximal tubule with impaired small molecules transport. We report the case of a 32 years old man with moderate kidney failure, normoglycemic glycosuria and hypouricemia. Further investigations revealed hypophosphoremia and phosphaturia; an IgG&kappa; MC was detected by immunofixation. The kidney biopsy confirmed FS suspect. This case underlines that the results of the biochemical analysis carried on for the diagnosis of FS, need to be confirmed by histopathologic analysis.</p>
Biochimica Clinica ; 44(2) E08-E10
Casi Clinici - Case Report
Identificazione di geni di normalizzazione per studi trascrizionali con Polymerase Chain Reaction
Identification of genes for normalization of RT-qPCR gene expression data: a review of published literature
<p>Reverse-transcriptase quantitative Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-qPCR) is a well-established technique to quantify gene expression levels and critically depends on reference genes for data normalization.<br />We performed a review of biomedical literature to analyse the usage of RT-qPCR in relation to other techniques for transcriptional analyses and to describe practices for the identification of suitable reference genes for RT-qPCR.<br />In the 81 analysed studies, 3 genes (GAPD, ACTB, B2M) were included in &ge;70% of cases, but ranked among the most stable genes in &le;1/3 of cases. The most frequently used normalizing algorithm was geNorm(83%), followed by NormFinder(73%) and BestKeeper(32%).<br />We also analysed transparency and good laboratory practices based on adherence to the Minimum Information for Publication of Quantitative Real-Time PCR Experiments (MIQE) guidelines, using selected validated evaluation criteria. Overall, key MIQE criteria were satisfied in &ge;50% of analyzed studies, but only four criteria (details of employed kit/enzyme for reverse transcription, priming method, primers/probes and DNA polymerase) were satisfied in &ge;90% of cases. Data on assay repeatability were reported only in 15% of studies. The presence of pseudogenes as a potential confounder of assay specificity was evaluated only in 13% of studies. Finally, as few as 6% of studies accounted for the presence of known mutations of singly nucleotide polymorphisms when designing assay primers/probes.<br />Better adherence to the MIQE guidelines should be encouraged. Publicly available transcriptomic and genomic data sets could be employed to refine the identification of suitable normalizing genes and to assist assay design.</p>
Biochimica Clinica ; 43(4) 357-365
Rassegne - Reviews
La spettrometria di massa nella diagnosi e nel monitoraggio delle gammopatie monoclonali
Mass spectrometry in diagnosis and monitoring of monoclonal gammopathies
<p>The identification ofmonoclonal components requires the use of protein electrophoresis, immunofixation electrophoresis of serum andurine and serum free light chain measurement. The combination of these three tests grants the highest diagnosticperformance in different clinical settings. In clinical practice, the monoclonal protein (M-protein) is detected in apatients&rsquo; serum or urine by the appearance of a distinct protein band migrating within regions typically occupied byimmunoglobulins. Immunofixation or immunotyping then provides evidence that the identified protein band is anintact immunoglobulin or an immunoglobulin light chain. Taking into consideration that each M-protein is composedby a sequence of amino acids pre-defined by somatic recombination unique to each clonal plasma cell, the molecularmass of the M-protein can act as a surrogate marker of the protein composition. The Mayo Clinic researchersestablished mass spectrometry-based methods to assign molecular mass to the monoclonal immunoglobulin lightchain and used this to detect the presence of M-proteins. The first method proposed is based on the enrichment ofserum for immunoglobulins, followed by reduction to separate light chains from heavy chains, followed by microflowLC-ESI-Q-TOF mass spectrometry. The second method is based on the enrichment of nanobodies and thesubsequent analysis on a matrix-assisted laser desorption mass spectrometer (MALDI). Both methods demonstrateda comparable diagnostic sensitivity to the standard procedures and could be considered as a possible futuresubstitution of immunofixation.</p>
Biochimica Clinica ; 43(3) 256-263
Rassegne - Reviews
Valutazione della risposta alla terapia in un paziente con amiloidosi AL e basse concentrazioni della catena leggera libera monoclonale
Evaluation of response to treatment in a patient with light chain amyloidosis and low free light chain burden
<p>Evaluation of response to treatment in a patient with light chain amyloidosis and low free light chain burden. In patients with light chain (AL) amyloidosis, reduction of amyloidogenic circulating free light chain (FLC) concentration translates in improvement of organ dysfunction and is associated with an increase in overall survival. Validated criteria for hematologic response to therapy are based on FLC quantification. However, patients with a difference between involved and uninvolved FLC (dFLC) &lt;50 mg/L are not evaluable for hematologic response. Here we report the case of a 69 year old man with AL (&lambda;) amyloidosis with renal involvement, presenting a low-FLC burden (dFLC 41 mg/L) at diagnosis. After two lines of treatment, a profound reduction of amyloidogenic FLC (dFLC 0 mg/L) was associated with an improvement of organ dysfunction. This case emphasizes the role of FLC assessment in the monitoring also of patients with a low-dFLC burden.</p><p>&nbsp;</p>
Biochimica Clinica ; 43(1) e4-e6
Casi Clinici - Case Report
La misura delle catene leggere libere indentifica la ricaduta di malattia e orienta per una rivalutazione della tipizzazione dell’amiloide in una paziente con amiloidosi AL
Free light measurement identifies relapse and prompts to reconsider amyloid typing in a patient with AL amyloidosis
<p>The detection and quantification of amyloidogenic light-chains (LC) is necessary for diagnosis and evaluation of response in AL amyloidosis. A 69 years old woman was initially diagnosed, in another center, with AL-<span style="font-family:calibri,sans-serif; font-size:11.0pt">&lambda;</span> amyloidosis with renal and soft tissue involvement in December 2001. After 4 cycles of therapy with melphalan and dexamethasone serum and urine immunofixation were negative and, after cycle 6, complete remission was confirmed. Free light chain (FLC) ratio was normal until June 2006, when proteinuria increased, and an elevated k-FLC concentration with abnormal k/<span style="font-family:calibri,sans-serif; font-size:14.6667px">&lambda;</span>-ratio was documented. We repeated the abdominal fat aspirate for amyloid typing by immune-electron microscopy that revealed k-LC deposits. The diagnosis was AL-k. A relapse was documented and the patient was started on bortezomib and dexamethasone therapy. After 8 cycles, complete remission was obtained. In this case, FLC allowed the identification of the amyloidogenic-LC, enabling the detection of relapse.</p>
Biochimica Clinica ; 42(2) e15-e17
Casi clinici - Case report
Ruolo del saggio Hevylite® nella diagnosi e nel monitoraggio delle gammopatie monoclonali
Role of Hevylite® assay in the diagnosis and monitoring of monoclonal gammopathies
<p>Clinical tests for detection and characterization of monoclonal immunoglobulins include serum and urine protein electrophoresis, and serum and urine immunofixation. The quantification of monoclonal components provides a surrogate for monitoring the size of malignant cell population in patients affected by plasma cell dyscrasia. As complementary test, immunoglobulin quantification is useful in patients with high concentrations of monoclonal IgG and in patients with monoclonal IgA whose electrophoretic migration is in the -fraction. Serum free light chain / ratio and the concentration of free light chains can also be used in different conditions. To overcome the limitations of traditional methods, e.g., for the quantification of monoclonal components that are indistinguishable from other proteins at electrophoresis, a new nephelometric immunoassay, called Hevylite assay (HLC), was developed. HLC separately measures in pairs light chain types of each intact immunoglobulin class, generating ratios of monoclonal immunoglobulin/uninvolved polyclonal immunoglobulin concentrations. Studies have shown that HLC and immunofixation are complementary methods. In this review, we summarize the role of HLC in the identification of clonality, prediction of prognosis in patients with multiple myeloma and in the evaluation of response to treatment. HLC ratio may also reveal immunoparesis and serve as a new marker for validating remission depth and relapse probability.</p>
Biochimica Clinica ; 40(4) 302-306
Rassegne - Reviews
Utilità del saggio Hevylite nella gestione clinica di una paziente affetta da amiloidosi AL con gammopatia biclonale
Usefulness of the Hevylite assay in the management of a patient with AL amyloidosis and biclonal gammopathy
<p>Patients with AL amyloidosis often have small monoclonal components (MCs) difficult to quantify by densitometry. IgA are the most problematic, due to anodic migration and possible masking under proteins migrating in &beta; zone. We evaluated the usefulness of the Hevylite assay (Binding Site, Birmingham UK), at diagnosis and during follow-up, in a patient with AL amyloidosis and biclonal gammopathy. At diagnosis serum immunofixation identified an IgG&lambda; and an IgA&lambda; band (the last one not reliably quantifiable in capillary electrophoresis). The &kappa; serum free light chain (FLC) concentration was 4.94 mg/L and &lambda; 26 mg/L (&kappa;/&lambda; ratio 0.19). The Hevylite test showed both IgG&lambda; and IgA&lambda; above the reference limits, with abnormal &kappa;/&lambda; ratios. After treatment, a 27% decrease in IgG&lambda; and a 56% decrease in IgA&lambda; concentration were documented by Hevylite, which was the only mean to quantify the monoclonal components in this patient.</p>
Biochimica Clinica ; 40(2) e12-e15
Casi clinici - Case report
Identificazione di danno renale reversibile e di precoce risposta alla chemioterapia in pazienti con amiloidosi AL
Identification of reversible renal damage and early response to chemotherapy in AL amyloidosis
<p>The kidney&nbsp;is involved in 70% of patients with immunoglobulin light-chain (AL) amyloidosis, but little is known on progression or&nbsp;reversibility of renal involvement. Furthermore, criteria for renal response have never been validated. We designed a&nbsp;staging system for renal damage and identified criteria for renal response and progression in a population of 732&nbsp;newly diagnosed patients with AL amyloidosis. The population was composed of 461 patients from Pavia (testing&nbsp;cohort) and 271 subjects from Heidelberg (validation cohort). Baseline proteinuria &gt;5 g/24 h and estimated glomerular&nbsp;filtration rate (eGFR) &lt;50 mL/min/1.73 m<sup>2</sup> were independently associated with poorer renal survival and discriminated&nbsp;between 3 stages (with none, one or two markers above the cut-off) with significant different renal survival. At 6-month&nbsp;follow-up, a &ge;25% eGFR decrease predicted poor renal survival in both cohorts and was adopted as criterion for renal&nbsp;progression. A decrease in proteinuria &ge;30% or below the cut-off of 0.5 g/24 h in absence of renal progression were&nbsp;the criteria for renal response, being associated with longer renal survival in the testing and validation cohorts. These&nbsp;endpoints can be used as validated response criteria in renal AL amyloidosis, allowing early assessment of treatment&nbsp;efficacy.</p>
Biochimica Clinica ; 40(1) 21-27
Contributi scientifici - Scientific Papers
Amiloidosi AL: il cuore del problema
AL amyloidosis: the heart of the problem
<p>Immunoglobulin light chain amyloidosis (AL) is characterized by the&nbsp;production of immunoglobulin light chains with conformational abnormalities that cause systemic toxicity with rapid&nbsp;deterioration of the function of vital organs. When the heart is involved, as it is the case in ~3/4 of patients, clinical signs&nbsp;and symptoms often appear when organ damage is already irreversible and the treatment cannot longer change the&nbsp;course of disease. Although in recent years new powerful therapeutic regimens have become available, which are able&nbsp;to significantly improve long-term survival, the mortality rate in the first year after diagnosis has indeed not improved, still&nbsp;being 25-30%. Cardiac involvement is responsible for almost all of these deaths. Early diagnosis based on biochemical&nbsp;markers of the disease rather than on clinical symptoms and signs can allow for early detection of patients with cardiac&nbsp;amyloidosis and to establish an effective therapy. To this end, our group has proposed the introduction of the&nbsp;measurement of natriuretic peptides that can identify the presence of amyloid cardiomyopathy with a sensitivity of 100%&nbsp;in the monitoring of subjects with monoclonal gammopathies of undetermined significance (MGUS) and altered ratio of&nbsp;circulating free light chains (FLC). Individuals with MGUS and altered FLC ratio are at intermediate/high risk of&nbsp;developing a malignant disease (AL amyloidosis in 10-15% of cases) and, according to the guidelines of the International&nbsp;Myeloma Working Group, they should be monitored regularly for their entire life. Here we describe a case where the&nbsp;application of these recent recommendations has allowed the timely recognition of amyloid cardiomyopathy.</p>
Biochimica Clinica ; 39(3) 220-222
Casi clinici - Case report
Componenti monoclonali piccole ma dannose
Small but harmful monoclonal components
<p>A small B-cell clone can synthesize a toxic monoclonal protein that&nbsp;causes severe organ damage. Diseases caused by these toxic immunoglobulins range from AL amyloidosis, light&nbsp;chain deposition disease and cryoglobulinemia to the POEMS (Polineuropathy, Organomegaly, Endocrinopathy,&nbsp;Monoclonal protein and Skin changes) syndrome. The serum monoclonal components are, in these cases, usually&nbsp;small and difficult to be detected by the commercially available methods. However, an early detection and a correct&nbsp;characterization of the monoclonal component is essential, because misdiagnosis or a delay in diagnosis can prevent&nbsp;the proper treatment of the patient worsening his outcome. Here we present two cases of amyloidosis AL, where the&nbsp;correct diagnosis was facilitated by specific and sensitive techniques. This does not mean that every clinical&nbsp;laboratory should be competent in this field and use these methods routinely, but simply that people should be aware&nbsp;of the problem, so that these clinical conditions can be properly managed.</p>
Biochimica Clinica ; 37(5) 431-434
Casi clinici - Case Report
Le catene leggere libere circolanti nella gestione del paziente con amiloidosi AL
Free light chain (FLC) assays in the management of patients with AL amyloidosis
<p>In light chain (AL)&nbsp;amyloidosis monoclonal FLC are not only a marker of the disease, but the toxic agent responsible for the organ&nbsp;damage. The possibility of measuring FLC provides an extraordinary means for managing AL amyloidosis. The&nbsp;quantitation of FLC, together with immunofixation of both serum and urine, allows optimal (98%-100%) sensitivity in&nbsp;detecting the amyloidogenic monoclonal protein. In combination with cardiac troponins and amino-terminal pronatriuretic&nbsp;type B peptide, FLC measurement grants an accurate prognostic stratification, which is important both in&nbsp;tailoring the therapeutic approach in individual patients and in designing and interpreting clinical trials. Chemotherapy&nbsp;targeting the amyloidogenic plasma cell clone succeeds in restoring organ function and prolonging survival only if it&nbsp;obtains a marked and persistent reduction of FLC, so much so that current response criteria are based on FLC<br />measurement.</p>
Biochimica Clinica ; 37(5) 347-351
Rassegne - Reviews
Adrenomedullina e peptidi correlati: dalla fisiologia alla diagnostica
Adrenomedullin and related peptides: from physiology to diagnostics
<p>Adrenomedullin (ADM) and related peptides have important physiologic effects on cardiovascular system, including a potent and powerful hypotensive activity caused by dilatation of resistance vessels. Other roles are played in endocrine and nervous systems. The plasma concentrations of ADM are increased in several cardiac diseases, raising the possibility of a role as a biomarker of heart failure. The actions of ADM are generally protective and beneficial to organs and tissues (e.g., vasodilation, natriuresis and anti-inflammation) and suggest that increased ADM expression or activity could act as a compensatory response to end-organ injury. The investigations on the possible applications of ADM in clinical studies have increased since the introduction of an assay measuring mid-regional proadrenomedullin (MR-proADM), a peptide derived from proadrenomedullin characterized by a high stability in plasma. Recent studies suggest that MRproADM could be a marker of adverse prognostic effects after myocardial infarction or during acute cardiac dyspnea. Recently, our group showed that MR-proADM is a powerful prognostic marker in AL (light-chain) amyloidosis, which may not only reflect cardiac dysfunction, but also widespread systemic disease, and can be combined with cardiac troponin for detecting patients at risk of early death. However, further studies are required in order to recommend the assay of MR-proADM in the clinical laboratory; in particular, there is a lack of information about: 1) kinetics of MRproADM release after acute events and 2) the specific contribution given by MR-proADM assay in addition to the wellestablished determination of natriuretic peptides.</p>
Biochimica Clinica ; 37(2) 086-090
Rassegne - Reviews
Un caso di gammopatia monoclonale risolto grazie ai biomarcatori cardiaci
A case of monoclonal gammopathy solved with cardiac biomarkers
Biochimica Clinica ; 35(3) 262
Analisi dei livelli trascrizionali di ciclina D1 nello studio delle discrasie plasmacellulari: revisione sistematica della letteratura
Analysis of cyclin D1 mRNA expression levels in plasma cell dyscrasias: a systematic review of published literature
<p>Overexpression of cyclin D1 (CCND1) occurs often in tumoral plasma cells, mainly &ndash; but not exclusively &ndash; as a result of the presence of the t(11;14) translocation. Of note, CCND1 mRNA overexpression or the presence of the t(11;14) translocation was shown to impact on the response to anti-plasma cell drugs and influence prognosis, both in patients with multiple myeloma and with immunoglobulin light chain (AL) amyloidosis. In this study, we performed a systematic revision of published literature on molecular assays to measure CCND1 transcript levels in plasma cell dyscrasias, in order to describe currently available assays, their technical characteristics and main applications. Relevant scientific articles were search on PubMed as of October 2020 using combinations of appropriate key words. Of 165 unique studies retrieved, 11 articles fulfilled the inclusion criteria and were further analyzed. Overall, 8 different molecular assays were described and characterized. Most of the studies focused on multiple myeloma, with some studies including also MGUS, plasma cell leukemia and/or AL amyloidosis. Assay design, technical validation and field of application of each assay were systematically reviewed. As more knowledge is gained about the impact of CCND1 expression levels on the biology of tumoral plasma cells and their response to anti-plasma cell drugs, including novel agents specifically targeting t(11;14)-positive clones, molecular assays to quantify CCND1 expression levels in tumoral plasma cells may become a useful complementation to molecular cytogenetics, towards a precision medicine approach to diagnose and treat plasma cell disorders which is based on laboratory medicine.</p>
Biochimica Clinica ; 17(1)
Rassegne - Reviews