The deletion of chromosome 17p [del(17p)] is considered a crucial prognostic factor at the time of diagnosis in patients with multiple myeloma (MM). However, the impact of del(17p) on survival at different clonal sizes at relapse, as well as the patterns of clonal evolution between diagnosis and relapse and their prognostic value, has not been well described. To address these issues, we analyzed the interphase fluorescence in situ hybridization (iFISH) results of 995 newly diagnosed MM (NDMM) patients and 293 patients with MM at their first relapse. Among these patients, 197 had paired iFISH data at diagnosis and first relapse. Our analysis of paired iFISH revealed that a minor clone of del(17p) at relapse but not at diagnosis was associated with poor prognosis in MM (hazard ratio [HR] for median overall survival [mOS] 1.64 vs. 1.44). 56 and 12 patients developed one or more new cytogenetic abnormalities (CAs) at relapse, mainly del(17p) and gain/amp(1q), respectively. We classified the patients into six groups based on the change patterns in the clonal size of del(17p) between the two time points. Patients who did not have del(17p) during follow-up showed the best outcomes, whereas those who acquired del(17p) during their disease course, experienced compromised survival (mOS: 61.3 months vs. 49.4 months, HR = 1.64, 95% CI: 1.06-2.56, P < 0.05). In conclusion, our data confirmed the adverse impact of a minor clone of del(17p) at relapse and highlighted the importance of designing optimal therapeutic strategies to eliminate high-risk CAs.
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