Correlation of Proliferative and Clonogenic Tumor Cells in Multiple Myeloma

Judith E. Karp, Philip J. Burke, Patricia L. Saylor, Richard L. Humphrey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


To expand on the findings from previous clinical trials that the growth of residual tumor is increased at a predictable time following initial drug administration, malignant plasma cells from bone marrows of patients with multiple myeloma (MM) were examined for changes in proliferation and clonogenicity induced in vivo by cyclophosphamide and in vitro by drug-induced humoral stimulatory activity. Peak plasma cell [3H]thymidine labeling index (LI) occurred predictably following drug and paralleled changes in agar colony formation by marrow cells obtained during therapy. Colony-forming capacity of pretreatment MM marrow populations was enhanced when those cells were cultured with humoral stimulatory activity, similar to the increased colony formation detected in Day 9 postcyclophosphamide marrows at the time of peak plasma cell LI. To further define a relationship between proliferative plasma cells and colony-forming tumor cells, MM marrows were fractionated by sedimentation on an isokinetic gradient. Enrichment of a proliferative tumor cell cohort was achieved, evidenced by [3H]thymidine LI. Colony-forming cells were also enriched by isokinetic gradient sedimentation, and agar colony formation by MM marrow cell fractions correlated with the kinetic characteristics of the isolated subpopulations. These studies of whole and fractionated human MM marrow cell populations suggest that the kinetically active cells which are induced to proliferate in vivo and in vitro are closely related to the clonogenic tumor cells which produce colonies in agar and which, like those cells measured by [3H]thymidine LI, respond to growth stimulation by drug-induced humoral stimulatory activity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4197-4200
Number of pages4
JournalCancer Research
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 1 1984

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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