Genetic and transcriptional landscape of plasma cells in POEMS syndrome.


Department of Hematology, Chiba University Hospital, Chiba, Japan. [Email]


POEMS syndrome is a rare paraneoplastic disease associated with monoclonal plasma cells; however, the pathogenic importance of plasma cells remains unclear. We performed comprehensive genetic analyses of plasma cells in 20 patients with POEMS syndrome. Whole exome sequencing was performed in 11 cases and found a total of 308 somatic mutations in 285 genes. Targeted sequencing was performed in all 20 cases and identified 20 mutations in 7 recurrently mutated genes, namely KLHL6, LTB, EHD1, EML4, HEPHL1, HIPK1, and PCDH10. None of the driver gene mutations frequently found in multiple myeloma (MM) such as NRAS, KRAS, BRAF, and TP53 was detected. Copy number analysis showed chromosomal abnormalities shared with monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance (MGUS), suggesting a partial overlap in the early development of MGUS and POEMS syndrome. RNA sequencing revealed a transcription profile specific to POEMS syndrome when compared with normal plasma cells, MGUS and MM. Unexpectedly, disease-specific VEGFA expression was not increased in POEMS syndrome. Our study illustrates that the genetic and transcriptional profiles of plasma cells in POEMS syndrome are distinct from MM and MGUS, indicating unique function of clonal plasma cells in its pathogenesis.