Researchers may have detected a gene that, if targeted by a drug, may increase the effectiveness of multiple myeloma (MM) treatment, and may help clinicians to better predict who is at risk of developing the disease, according to a study accepted for publication in Leukemia.1

Monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance (MGUS) occurs in as many as 7% of people over the age of 85. The condition is not well understood, though around 1% of people with MGUS will develop MM.

Researchers at the University of Birmingham in the United Kingdom found that in patients with MGUS, the PADI2 gene over-activates in bone marrow tissue, which leads to upregulation of interleukin-6 (IL-6). The presence of IL-6 is linked to survival and proliferation of myeloma cells, and to reduced effectiveness of some types of chemotherapy.

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The authors conclude that the bone marrow dysfunction, possibly caused by MGUS, may lead to malignancy, and that targeting PADI2 may lead to prevention of MM, as well as for more effective treatment.

PADI2 expression is also associated with rheumatoid arthritis, Alzheimer disease, and other forms of cancer. 2


  1. McNee G, Eales KL, Wei W, et al. Citrullination of histone H3 drives IL-6 production by bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells in MGUS and multiple myeloma. Leukemia. In press.
  2. Research suggests common blood cancer could be prevented before it develops. EurekAlert! Updated July 11, 2016. Access July 18, 2016.