The bone marrow sample may be used for cytogenetic tests, which examine the structure and function of cells. Each cell in the body contains chromosomes, which are made up of genes. These genes control all activities of the cell.
There may be changes in the structure of the chromosomes within myeloma cells, such as a part missing or deleted. The most common chromosomal abnormalities found in myeloma include t(4;14), t(14;16), del(17p) and del(13q). They help classify myeloma as either high risk or standard risk.
Cytogenetic or fluorescence in situ hybridisation (FISH) tests can look for changes in the chromosomes of plasma cells found in the bone marrow sample. By identifying any changed or damaged chromosomes, genetic tests help the medical team plan the most effective treatment and predict how the myeloma might respond.
Dr Jane Estell, Senior Staff Specialist, Haematology Department, Concord Cancer Centre, and Senior Clinical Lecturer, The University of Sydney; Brenda Clasquin, 13 11 20 Consultant, Cancer Council NSW; Jacqui Keogh, Senior Myeloma Support Nurse, Myeloma Australia; Dr Silvia Ling, Haematologist, Liverpool Hospital and Sydney Adventist Hospital; and John Miller, Consumer.
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