MULTIPLE MYELOMA KNOWLEDGE CENTER

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Cytogenetic Analysis & Fluorescence in Situ Hybridization

Myeloma cytogenetic analysis is an examination of the bone marrow cells to look for chromosome abnormalities.

One cytogenetic analysis method is karyotyping. With this technique, a sample from a bone marrow specimen is put into a special dish and allowed to grow in the laboratory. Plasma cells are then taken from the sample and stained. The stained cells are photographed and the image is analyzed to look for abnormal numbers or structures of chromosomes, such as deletions and translocations.

A more powerful way of analyzing cells for chromosome abnormalities in multiple myeloma is fluorescence in situ hybridization, commonly referred to as the FISH test. This testing method involves the use of a short piece of a single strand of DNA that has a specific chromosome abnormality (one associated with multiple myeloma). This piece of DNA is called a probe, and it is labeled with fluorescent dye. If cells in a person’s bone marrow sample have the same chromosome abnormality, the probe will bind to it. The fluorescent dye provides a way for the lab specialist to see exactly where the probe is attached to the chromosome.

Cytogenetic analysis is not routinely performed for all individuals with newly diagnosed multiple myeloma, but a number of institutions are willing to perform the tests. Ask your doctor to recommend an appropriate testing site near you and your family. Cytogenetic analysis may provide you and your physician with more information about your myeloma prognosis and the possibility of treating your disease in targeted ways.